Wishing you Happy New Year means it is time of year again when the legislature is back in session. This will be an interesting time, as we have a very large group of new representatives and senators. Due to elections, appointments, and resignations, we have a new Governor, Lt. governor, treasurer, and attorney general. The good news on the statewide offices is these positions have been filled with high quality individuals who will work very hard for the State of Missouri.
There has been a lot of discussion lately about the shortfall of tax revenues in the state. The Department of Revenue had some issues calculating the withholding amounts for individuals’ paychecks which has led to the state receiving less money. The bad news is this shortfall will be made up when individuals’ taxes are filed and they will potentially owe money instead of getting a refund. This is not due to a tax increase. It is caused by less money being withheld from paychecks.
Transportation funding will continue to be a topic of discussion this session. The gas tax increase on the ballot last November failed, so there still isn’t revenue to fix our roads and bridges. I have heard many comments about the reason it failed. The leading opinion is the tax should have been for roads and bridges instead of the Highway Patrol. I understand this is confusing but the Highway Patrol and repairs for roads and bridges are all paid out of the same gas tax. The previous attempt was a sales tax increase was worded for roads and bridges but the alternate forms of transportation had to be included because of the federal matching funds. People say they want the money to only go to roads and bridges, but the problem is very difficult to do.
Amendment 2 passed, legalizing medical marijuana in Missouri. There are a lot of things have to happen before growing and selling can take place. There isn’t any money in the current budget to pay for all of the infrastructure and training that will need to take place, so the Department of Social Services will have to ask for supplemental funding. I understand this was voted on by the people of Missouri and it is now part of our constitution, but we also have a balanced budget requirement prohibits us from spending money has not been appropriated. Eventually, there will be fees and taxes will fund the program, but the amendment didn’t do very well in planning the program start-up.
I will continue to be very involved in the budget process and continue to chair the Subcommittee on Appropriations for Health, Mental Health, and Social Services. The rest of my committee assignments will be made soon. I will have a bill relating to school funding filed soon and I will always be involved in improving education for our Missouri students. I am glad Governor Parson recognizes the need for workforce development and that not every student has to attend a four year university to be a success.
Thank you again for allowing me the honor to be the representative for District 58. I will continue to work for you in the legislature. I appreciate the support I have received and the many friends I have made the last six years. Cheryl and I love being a part of each community that makes up the 58th and we look forward to the next two years.
I have changed offices and my new location is Room 112. Diann Bates continues to work for me and does a fantastic job answering your calls and keeping my schedule. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, contact me at 573-751-2077 or email david.wood@house.mo.gov.