Technically, this week marked the second week of a special session called by the governor to address pension reform and economic incentives for manufacturers. However, in actuality, very little legislating actually took place, as a stalemate between the House and Senate continues to bog down the legislative process.
As I stated last week, I am against the legislation we are discussing during this special session. We were called to the Capitol to try and pass a bill that is meant to lure Ford into staying in Claycomo, near Kansas City—a bill that may or may not result in the desired effect. In an effort to lessen the effect of the bill on the state’s finances, the governor has also asked us to consider legislation that would make reductions to the state’s pension system. I voted no on both of these bills during the regular session, and I will vote the same way during this special session.
Many had hoped that the special session would move quickly, but with the second week drawing to a close with only one day of floor action, it could easily last three or four weeks. With this in mind, the cost of this special session is a serious concern. One quote from the governor’s office estimated that the special session costs $125,000 per week. This price tag is paid with taxpayer dollars in a tough budget year when we are stretching every dollar tightly.
In the past, it has been a common practice to call the Legislature back to the Capitol for a special session in September to coincide with the annual veto session. This saves the state the expense of having to have an unplanned session and instead rolls the cost into the planned veto session. This is a practice that would have been more fiscally responsible, and I believe it is the way that the governor should have proceeded. Many have said that quick action was necessary to ensure that incentives are made available to Ford, but with there being no guarantee from the company on the effect these incentives will have on the company’s decision, I again have to question the rush.
We will return to the Capitol next week to continue debate on both of these issues. With the incentive package stalled in a Senate committee, it is hard to say when the session will conclude and brings more light to the cost of this special session. I will keep you posted on how the session continues.
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Nodler: Cost of special session is a concern
In his weekly report, Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, a candidate for the Seventh District Congressional seat, reviews the lack of action in the special session: