There are some simple truths that we all need to accept about our state's system of welfare, or at it is also known, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. First, the program is meant to be temporary as it serves as a bridge to get Missourians in need back on their feet and back into the workforce. Second, when it comes to this primary goal of the program, Missouri's system is a failure. In fact, according to objective analysis, it is the worst in the nation.
With the intent of moving the program in a better direction, and giving Missouri welfare recipients the tools they need to achieve self-sufficiency, the legislature passed a common sense reform bill in April. The bill takes some much-needed steps to transition folks out of a lifetime of poverty and dependence, and help them toward true independence. It would lower the lifetime benefits for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families recipients to 45 months from the current limit of 60 months. It also would add Missouri to the list of 37 other states that require welfare recipients to take immediate steps to seek employment in order to receive benefits. It would then take the savings generated by these reforms and invest them in child care, education, transportation and job training assistance for participants in the program.
This is an idea that drew veto-proof support in both the House and Senate. Despite the fact we all know that something must be done to improve the welfare system here in Missouri, the governor vetoed the bill. In his veto he attempted to characterize the bill as being harmful to the children of Missourians on welfare. Again, the governor's dramatic, political grandstanding has attempted to draw attention away from the truth – that the program as it currently stands is failing the people it is meant to help. And nothing could be more harmful to the young people of our state than dooming them to a lifetime of poverty and dependence.
The truth is the bill we passed provides Missourians in need with almost four years of benefits, and invests the savings generated through these reforms in areas such as child care, education and job training, which will be a huge help to the families served by the program. I’m proud of my colleagues for standing with me to reform our welfare system so that it empowers Missourians to be self-sufficient. We passed the bill with a veto-proof majority and I am confident we will succeed in overriding his veto in the coming days.
The legislation received 111 votes in the House. A successful veto override requires 109 votes in the House.
Working to Make Missouri's Business Fees the Lowest in the Nation (HB 513)
One of the primary goals of the House is to find ways to level the playing field and keep government out of the way so Missouri businesses can grow and create jobs. This week we passed legislation that takes an important step toward that goal by giving Missouri businesses the lowest filing fees of any state in the nation.
The bill would cut more than 40 fees collected by the Missouri Secretary of State for both new and existing businesses including corporations, LLCs and nonprofits. In total, the fee reduction would save Missouri businesses approximately $6 million a year.
We are confident that lowering fees will allow businesses to keep more of their earnings that can then be invested in expansion and job creation. We also know reducing fees will eliminate a significant obstacle for new businesses. This is a good piece of pro-growth, pro-jobs legislation that now moves over to the Senate where I am hopeful my colleagues will take quick action to pass it into law.