Monday I had my first opportunity this session to introduce one of my bills before a House committee.
House Bill 856 was heard before the Committee on Downsizing State Government. HB 856 would prevent the government from competing with private business, while providing certain exemptions for utilities, libraries, schools, and traditional government functions.
Businesses of all kinds expect and even welcome competition. They know they need to serve their customers and offer their goods or services at reasonable prices. If they fail to do either of these things other competitors will enter the market, or even drive them out of business. Either way, they would stand to lose customers which is opposite of what any business desires.
Private businesses expect competition from other private businesses. What they do not expect is competition from their own government. There is something particularly egregious about a private business having to pay the government taxes only to turn around and have to compete with that very government they have been taxed to support.
It was reported in 2016 that the state was exploring purchasing an existing canoe business in Shannon County along the Current River. If this had occurred the Department of Natural Resources would have been in direct competition with the other outfitters in the area.
I maintain government should keep to its core functions. I exempted these core functions in the bill. This means that government will continue to be able to provide all the services people have become accustomed to. It also means these are the activities government would be limited to conducting, and it would be prohibited from further competition with the private market.
The Special Committee on Government Oversight met again Wednesday. I serve on this committee with six of my fellow House members. The Director of the Department of Revenue again appeared before the committee.
I must tell you, I am growing increasingly frustrated with the answers, or lack thereof, that we are receiving from the Department of Revenue about the 2018 tax year.
What is clear is Missourians’ refunds are smaller than they expected. What also seems clear is the amount of withholding from payroll checks fell by more than the tax cut. What isn’t clear, is if in addition to the changes in the federal tax code, the Department of Revenue did or did not make an error on the withholding tables that also contributed to the under withholding. When it comes to this topic, their story continues to change and evolve. I am also growing tired of their poor communication with the public as it relates to these matters.
Holding the unelected bureaucracy accountable is a core function of the legislative branch.
I will continue to stand with leadership in the House and on the Government Oversight Committee in order to get answers to our questions, and perhaps more importantly, demand accountability.