HOUSE COMMITTEE ON DOWNSIZING STATE GOVERNMENT LISTENING TOUR JULY 16-18, 2013
Representative Paul Curtman Chairman
Representative Mike Kelley Vice-Chairman
Chairmanâ€™s Report July 26, 2013
July 26, 2013 Dear Mr. Speaker, Your committee on Downsizing State Government was granted leave during the interim in order to conduct a statewide listening tour designed to solicit citizen input regarding their suggestions, ideas, and experiences with a state government that can often times be burdensome, excessively expensive, and cumbersome. The committee met your request with enthusiasm, and the citizenry, Iâ€™m pleased to report, responded similarly. Beginning on July 16, 2013, the committee embarked on a three-day, nine-stop tour of our great state. Hearings were held in the following municipalities: Clayton, Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, Joplin, Independence, St. Joseph, Columbia, and Jefferson City. All told, hundreds of Missourians participated in what I believe to be a successful venture on behalf of the Missouri House of Representatives. In the following pages, you will find details of the work done by and on behalf of the Downsizing State Government Committee leading up to the hearings and a summation of the findings of the tour. I hope you find the information useful and I look forward to working with you in our shared goal of enabling a smarter, more efficient, and less burdensome bureaucracy and legal code. Sincerely,
Paul Curtman, Chairman House Committee on Downsizing State Government
STAFF SUPPORT The Research division of the Missouri House provided research support, summarized testimony at each of the nine hearings, and assisted in tour logistics while the hearings were in progress. Much of the presentation of findings later in this report is attributable to their work. Staff providing assistance included: Bill Tucker, Director Leslie Korte, J.D. Dan Hutton Jason Glahn The Communications division provided continuing assistance prior, during, and after the tour to assist in the media relations effort, including providing contact information for the various outlets and drafting and distributing releases and advisories on behalf of the Chairman and the Committee. A media analysis is included in the appendix of this report, which summarizes coverage before, during, and after the tour and it is a testament to the Communication teamâ€™s dedication. PUBLIC RELATIONS Member Notification The week prior to the tour, an email was sent to each member of the General Assembly. This email was for two purposes 1) to inform members of the impending hearings in or around their legislative districts and 2) to provide a sample email they could also send to their respective distribution lists, as the Chairman did with his statewide contact list of thousands of constituents, to alert local citizens of the scheduled stops in the area. Immediate attention was given to this notice and several members affirmed they forwarded the notice on to their email distribution lists or posted the local event on their Facebook page. Media Notification Direct media contact was made by both the Communications staff and Sean Grove, an aide to the Chairman. The following chronology outlines the notices sent by the Communications division to various media outlets throughout the state in order to raise awareness of the listening tour. A media analysis was performed upon the conclusion of the tour and is included in the appendix which provides further insight as to the breadth of the media outreach surrounding the tour. July 9, 2013 Original press released distributed to all media outlets in Missouri. The statewide media list includes more than 500 contacts consisting of every daily and weekly newspaper in Missouri as well as all radio stations and television stations. July 11, 2013 Targeted advisory for Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff hearings delivered to Southeast Missouri media market. Media outlets that received the advisory include: Cash Book Journal, KAPE-AM, KBSI-TV , KFVS TV, KRCU / KSEF, KSIM-AM, KZIM/AM-KSIM/AM, Southeast Missourian, Daily American Republic, SEMO Times -3-
July 15, 2013 Targeted advisory for St. Louis hearing delivered to St. Louis media market. Media outlets that received the advisory include: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Beacon, St. Louis Public Radio, Missouri Times, Associated Press, Missourinet, Missouri Watchdog, KMOX Radio, KDNL-TV (ABC 30), KFTK-FM (FM News Talk 97.1), KMOV TV, KSDK TV, KTVI TV, St. Louis American, St. Louis Business Journal, St. Louis Call Newspapers, St. Louis Countian, St. Louis County Community News, St. Louis Riverfront Times, St. Louis South County Times, St. Louis Suburban Journals, Kirkwood Times, Washington Missourian, all Patch publications, Missouri Watchdog July 15, 2013 Targeted advisory for Springfield and Joplin hearings delivered to Southwest Missouri media market. Media outlets that received the advisory include: Lamar Democrat, Greenfield Vedette, Jasper County Citizen, Carthage Press, Joplin Globe, KZRG/AM, KZYM/AM, Webb City Sentinel, Ash Grove Commonwealth, Community Free Press, Daily Events, KADI/AM/FM, KOLR-TV, KOZK-TV Springfield, KRZK-FM, KSGF/AM/FM, KSMU/FM, KSPR TV, KTTS-FM, KWTO/AM/FM, KYTV, Republic Monitor, Springfield Business Journal, Springfield NewsLeader, Willard Cross Country Times, Neosho Daily News, Newton County News, Seneca NewsDispatch, Christian County Headliner-News, Nixa Xpress, Aurora Advertiser, KSWM / KQMO, Lawrence County Record July 15, 2013 Targeted advisory for Kansas City hearing delivered to Kansas City media market. Media outlets receiving the advisory include: Grain Valley Pointe, Independence Examiner, Jackson County Advocate, Kansas City Daily Record, Kansas City Northeast News, Kansas City The Pitch, Kansas City The Pulse, KCMO 710AM Talk Radio, KCUR 89.3 Kansas City, KMBZ 980 AM Kansas City, Lee's Summit Journal, Lee's Summit Tribune, Oak Grove Focus, The Kansas City Star, KMBC TV, NBC Action News, KNLC TV, WDAFTV 4, Excelsior Springs Standard, KCMO/AM / KCHX/HD2, Kearney Courier, Liberty Tribune, Smithville Herald, Holden Image, Knob Noster Item, KTBG/FM, Warrensburg Daily Star-Journal July 16, 2013 Targeted advisory for St. Joseph hearing delivered to Northwest Missouri media market. Media outlets receiving the advisory include: Savannah Reporter, DeKalb County Record-Herald, KKWK Radio, Mound City News, Oregon Times Observer, Fox 26 KNPN, KFEQ Radio, KQTV, St. Joseph News-Press, St. Joseph Telegraph, Cameron Citizen-Observer, Clinton County Leader, Lathrop Rural Reporter, Albany Ledger, Tri-County News, Platte City Platte County Citizen, Platte County Landmark, Weston Chronicle July 16, 2013 Targeted advisory for Columbia and Jefferson City hearings delivered to Mid-Missouri media market. Media outlets receiving the advisory include: Boone County Journal, Centralia Fireside Guard, Columbia Missourian, Columbia Tribune, KBIA/FM, KFRU/AM, KOPN/FM, KSSZ/FM, Fulton Sun, Jefferson City News Tribune, KXEO / KWWR, Mexico Ledger, Vandalia Leader, Linn Unterrified Democrat, California Democrat, Tipton Times, KWIX / KRES / KIRK / KTCM, Moberly Monitor-Index, Missouri Times, Associated Press, Missourinet, KMIZ TV, KRCG-TV, KWOS Radio, Missouri Digital News, Columbia Daily Tribune, other press corps members who regularly cover events in the state Capitol such as the Post-Dispatch, Star, etc. -4-
In addition to these notices, additional releases were sent to the St. Louis and Southwest markets following the St. Louis hearing and the Springfield hearing. These releases included statements from the Chairman regarding the turnout and successes of the trip at those intervals. Social Media Utilization The Chairman also created Facebook events that were posted on his Facebook page which has a reach of over two thousand. As previously mentioned, other members followed suit. The Chairman also created a Twitter “hashtag” (#DownsizeMOGov) in order to allow users of that platform to make direct contact with a suggestion or comment. Radio Interview Solicitation An email was sent, and a follow up call made, by committee staff to an aggregated list of each radio station in the markets in which the committee was scheduled to stop. Of these more than 30 programs, twelve stations responded to the email or returned phone calls made to the producers of the various shows. Ten of these programs ultimately recorded interviews or broadcasted the Chairman live while recording. One station, KWTO in Springfield, hosted Chairman Curtman for a thirty-minute segment in-studio on Wednesday morning prior to the scheduled hearing in that region. Stations participating in these interviews are as follows: KZRG Joplin Morning NewsWatch – Weekdays 6 to 8 am
Commonsense Coalition Talk Radio
KWOS Jefferson City Open Air – Weekdays 8 to 9 am
KWOC Poplar Bluff Brittney on the Bluff
KCMO Kansas City Morning Show – Weekdays 5 to 9 am
KMOX St. Louis Reardon Roundtable – Weekdays 2 to 4 pm
KZIM/KSIM Cape Girardeau Morning News Watch – 5:30 to 9 am
KFEQ St. Joseph St. Joe This Morning – Weekdays 5 to 8 am
KMOX St. Louis Charlie Brennan Show – Weekdays 8:30 to 11 am
KWTO Springfield Morning Line – Weekdays 7 to 9 am
Finally, many other local television and radio outlets also pursued interviews on location at the conclusion of the hearings. Though it is unknown how many interviews were conducted spontaneously during the tour, an aggregate media analysis is included in the appendix containing the results of these interviews.
PUBLIC TESTIMONY The most critical component of the Tour, of course, is citizen participation. While the legislature hosts public hearings quite frequently covering a range of issues during the annual legislative session, many are hindered from participating by the distance one must travel in order to visit the Capitol and conflicting work and personal schedules. This Tour was specifically designed to curtail some of those obstacles and bring the state government directly to the people whom it serves. In the three days of hearings, hundreds of Missourians attended the hearings, many of who provided their thoughts, suggestions, and counsel to the committee. Below, you will find a summation of the testimony offered along with the names of the citizen participants. Tuesday, July 16 St. Louis County Council Chambers • 41 South Central Avenue • Clayton, MO 63105 Witnesses Dan Amsden; Jennifer Bird; David Day; Curtis Farber; Anne Gassel; Laura Hausladen; Steve Hausladen; Damien Johnson; John Judd; Jim Lembke; Dave Linton; John Payne; Senator Eric Schmidt; Representative Rick Stream; Tim Weeks; Gary Wiegert; Robert Vroman; Adam Bohn; Frances Adams; Timothy Davis. Testimony The committee heard testimony from multiple witnesses requesting a veto override of HB 253, and requesting that no tax increases or bond issues be placed on the ballot in 2014. One witness testified that after reviewing agency audits, it was clear that the vast majority of individuals receiving government assistance may not be eligible for those benefits. The witness asked someone to look into the Department of Social Services handling of reports of welfare fraud. One witness asked the committee to look at how the state is utilizing the office space in its possession and suggested that the Department of Social Services needs the legislature’s oversight to ensure the department is effectively managing its budget and programs. The committee heard testimony from an individual requesting the state move to a voucher program for schools that would allow parents to choose what school they send their child to. Numerous individuals testified that the state needs to make spending cuts. The committee was both asked to reform the state’s marijuana laws by either reducing penalties or move to a full legalization of marijuana while also receiving testimony against this policy change. One witness asked the committed to repeal marriage laws, reform education and MoHealth Net, and to repeal the prohibition on prostitution.
One witness discouraged the use of red light camera, citing their purpose of collecting revenue as an inappropriate ulterior motive for law enforcement. The witness also stated their use increases rearend accidents. Cape Girardeau Public Library • 711 N. Clark St. • Cape Girardeau, MO 63701 Witnesses Leonard “Doug” Austin; Cheryl Ginter; Janet Criddle; Michael Masterson; John McMillen; Gary Rust; Jeff Timmerman. Testimony The committee was asked to change the laws on term limits so that a representative can serve a four year term, with the reasoning that such a change would save both time and money. It was also suggested that the number of senators and representatives should be reduced, and that pensions should not be paid to members who do not serve sixteen years as a member of the General Assembly. Multiple witnesses encouraged the legislature to adopt either a fair or flat tax. One of these witnesses continued by advocating for disability program reform. The witness cited a lack of accountability and increasing abuse of the program as reason for reform. One witness proposed that the legislature create a booklet of the most common laws that the average citizen should be aware of. The committee heard testimony in opposition to the adoption of the Common Core standards. Three Rivers College • 2080 Three Rivers Blvd • Poplar Bluff, MO 63901 Witnesses Jay Decker; Charles Hampton; David Ryan Heuiser; Eddy Justice; David Knapp. Testimony The committee heard testimony asking for a veto override of HB 253 and for reform of the state’s marijuana laws. One witness stated his opinion that if industrial hemp was legalized, Missouri could earn revenue from growing and manufacturing hemp. One witness stated that one of his employees called the Department of Social Services to get off of government assistance, and the response from the department was to attempt to talk the individual into staying on the assistance for another six months. It seems counterintuitive that the department would be hassling people who are trying to get off of welfare. The department needs to be scrutinized.
Wednesday, July 17 The Library Center â€˘ 4653 S. Campbell Ave. â€˘ Springfield, MO 65810 Witnesses Mary Byrne; Patricia Bertrand; John Dietrich; Lars Franken; Rick Hess; David Jackson; Sharlee Lawless; Ron Sanders; Deborah Smithey; Bob Stephens; John Wylie; Doug Tjaden; Jan Lancaster; Rabbi DF Eukel; Dave Plemmons. Testimony The committee heard testimony from a professor who opposes the adoption of the common core curriculum standards by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) without obtaining legislative approval, with the professor further stating that the common core standards were developed by non-governmental organizations, and local school boards have no control over their content. The witnesses suggested the legislature should investigate or modify the powers granted to DESE under Chapter 160. Similarly, the committee also heard testimony suggesting the DESE should refocus on cooperating with local districts rather than increasing its regulatory control over them. Furthermore, the legislature should consider downsizing or dismantling this department. The committee was encouraged to condense county configurations. Specifically, second and third class counties, which have been configured by the state legislature, may not be able to support and should not be required to support this bureaucracy and its inherent salaries, pensions, and other operating costs. A woman testified that her husband must comply with extremely burdensome federal trucking regulations even though he only operates a 1-ton pickup truck used solely for his own business and not for the interstate transportation of freight. The woman suggested the Missouri Department of Transportation be contacted to resolve the issue and ensure they are enforcing regulations in an appropriate way. One witness stated her concern regarding legislative proposals harming the poor and granting tax breaks to the wealthy. The witness also expressed concern over the American Legislative Exchange Councilâ€™s role in the legislative process One person suggested the legislature consider amending the state constitution with a house joint resolution sent to a vote of the people that would allow for the recall of state elected officials. Another witness suggested the state require state agencies to justify increasing or maintaining fees on an annual basis in a manner similar to the process that cities and towns use to comply with the Hancock Amendment. Witnesses testified that HB 253 was a useful measure and asked the legislature to consider a veto override in order to lower state income taxes and provide economic stimulus. Testimony suggested that because there is currently a budget surplus, taxes may be lowered without deficit spending or a need for reductions to the existing budget. The committee also heard related testimony requesting limitations on the taxing authority of governments.
The committee also heard testimony asking the committee to consider legislation that would legalize and regulate the sale and possession of marijuana; opposition to the $3.00 mandatory court fee imposed on municipal courts this year in order to fund a retirement fund for state sheriffs; and support for the recent attempts at enacting HJR’s seeking to reduce the size of the state legislature. One witness requested that the judicial branch and the executive branch’s bureaucracy be limited in their perceived legislative actions. One witness suggested statutory or constitutional requirements be added for fiscal overview of the operating expenses for all state boards, commissions, or other non-executive bodies. Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce • 320 E. 4th St. • Joplin, MO 64801 Witnesses Frank Neely; Representative Charlie Davis. Testimony The committee heard testimony in support of the decriminalization of marijuana and appreciation to the committee for conducting a public hearing on HB 512 last session. The committee was also encouraged to override the veto of HB 253. Harry S. Truman Library & Museum • 500 W. US Hwy 24 • Independence, MO 64050 Witnesses Leila Cohoon; Darren Carpenter; David Cox; Jacque Cox; Bob Holliger; Jerome Hughes; Luetta Langley; Samantha Lovetere; Mary Potter; Rebecca Roeber; Herschel Young; Mary Hill; Jill Carter. Testimony The committee heard testimony in opposition to the adoption of the common core standards, stating that the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has too much control and power and suggesting that DESE be downsized or eliminated. Witnesses said that DESE records are inaccurate and that the salaries of administrators that are listed on the DESE database are well below the actual salaries that are being received, in some cases by hundreds of thousands of dollars. One witnesses commented that the teacher’s pension plan database and records do not show an $8.2 billion unfunded liability that actually exists. Multiple witnesses testified that Missouri should become a Right-to-Work state to compete with other states for jobs. One witness testified that the agency that handles unemployment security is harassing his friend. The witness stated that bank levies by the Department of Revenue are up four-fold this year and the department is terrorizing taxpayers. The witness also stated that the silk fencing requirements by the Department of Natural Resources have gotten out of control. The committee heard testimony asking that the Department of Revenue’s handling of the conceal and carry permit source documents be investigated and dealt with. -9-
One witness asked the committee to re-examine Section 115.350 RSMo to ensure the statute cannot be misused or abused. The witness also expressed his opinion that Tax Increment Financing (TIFs) are being misused and suggested an audit of Cass County. The committee was asked to consider legislation that would require voter ID; reform Medicaid; do away with double taxation; consider vouchers for the use of private schools; eliminate state income tax; and reduce medical paperwork. A cosmetologist asked the committee to refuse to repeal the licensing requirements for cosmetologists in the state and suggested the state remove grants to public schools for cosmetology training, as they compete with private schools and provide no value to the students or the industry. Thursday, July 18 East Hills Library • 502 North Woodbine Rd. • St. Joseph, MO 64506 Witnesses Mike Bozarth; Ellis Cross; Jim Guest; Allison Ward; Larry Weigum, Sr.; Virginia Weigum. Testimony One witness suggested that the state government be examined to see what overlap exists. The committee heard testimony that the implementation of the Real ID Act of 2005 and Department of Revenue privacy issues are areas of concern. One witness asked the legislature to continue to nullify federal laws, stating that it would help free up the business environment. The committee heard from witnesses in favor of Right-to-Work legislation and legislation that would require voter ID. One witness asked that legislative pensions be eliminated, stating that career politicians are not beneficial to the state of Missouri. Witnesses testified that housing grants have become too large, tax breaks need to go to citizens and not corporations, and historical tax credits have spiraled out of control and need to be reduced. Reynolds Alumni Center • 704 Conley Ave. • Columbia, MO 65211 Witnesses Mickey Belosi; Fred Berry; Larry Craig; Ted Craig; Susan Gibson; Bruce Hillis; Mitch Hubbard; Hunter Kevil; Beverly Martin; J.K. Quick; Dan Viets. Testimony The committee heard testimony asking the committee to consider legislation that would repeal/reform the current marijuana prohibition. The witnesses stated that if marijuana was decriminalized and regulated, the state would expend less resources in prosecuting these offenses or housing offenders for these offenses. One woman asked the committee to expand Medicaid and to stay out of her medical care. Another witness took the opposite position, and supported the legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid,
stating that individuals on Medicaid often have a worse outcome than people with no insurance at all. Several witnesses asked the committee to consider how much downsizing has already happened in state government, and to consider not “down” sizing, but “right” sizing the state government. One witness specifically asked the committee to only consider repealing or reforming existing legislation. One witness stated that when you downsize state government, it eliminates employment, which impacts the citizen in Missouri. The witness expressed the opinion that the state is losing good middle class jobs through downsizing not just the state government, but also through job reduction in other industries found in the state. He wants the committee to examine what has been the impact of any government downsizing that has already occurred. One witness testified that prosperity is correlated to the size of government, and economic freedom is highly correlated to prosperity. The witness testified that the growth of government becomes a barrier to the growth of market-based economies and that the committee should carefully examine the issues based on this notion. One witness asked the committee to retain geology as a profession in the state, testifying that geologists assist with important functions such as the proper installation of dams, toxic clean-ups, etc., and eliminating this profession would be a disservice to the public citizens of the state. The committee heard from multiple witnesses in support of the Fair Tax. Witnesses stated the legislature needs to reduce the income tax and pointed out that in the nine states that have eliminated their state income tax, a subsequent increase in jobs resulted. As further support of the position in favor of the Fair Tax, one witness testified that the state budget is easier to manage if it is not based on an income tax, but based instead on a sales tax, because income tax is more volatile year to year than a state sales tax. It also costs less for government to collect sales tax, there is a savings to citizens who do not have to spend money figuring out what they owe in income taxes, and the compliance gap would substantially decrease because collecting the tax at the point of sale would be much easier than collecting an income tax after it comes due. One witness asked the committee to re-examine the state constitution, specifically Article I and Article II. The witness expressed his opinion that targeted tax credits create inequality and violate the equality clause found in our state constitution. The witness also asked the committee to reduce regulations, including licensing for certain businesses. House Hearing Room 7 • State Capitol • Jefferson City, MO 65101 Witnesses Peggy Berry; Alex Curchin; David Dodson; Earl Williamson; Ray McCarty; Nancy Steward; Patrick Bexten. Testimony The committee heard testimony from multiple witnesses asking the legislature to override the Governor’s veto of HB 253 relating to state taxation. HB 253 will reduce the income tax burden on citizens and businesses, put more money in the hands of the people and the job creators, and reduce the expenditures of state government. -11-
One witnesses testified that he would like to see the legalization of marijuana and hemp in Missouri. The witness stated that legalization would increase state revenue and reduce law enforcement costs A small business owner testified that it is her opinion that government is over-regulating small business and that government inspectors have too much power and are harassing businesses. One witness stated that Missouri state government should remove computer games from the computers of state employees, as she is repeatedly frustrated when she observes state employees playing computer games instead of doing their jobs. This simple step would make the employees more productive and possibly result in a cost savings. The committee heard testimony encouraging the implementation of a fair tax to replace the stateâ€™s income tax scheme. This consumption based tax, according to the witness, would remove the necessity of DOR staff reviewing individual tax documents which would streamline the department. The witness continued by stating that sales tax collections are more efficient and automatic.
Appendix Analysis of Media Coverage for Statewide Listening Tour Conducted by House Downsizing State Government Committee Pre-Tour coverage Original release distributed July 9 to statewide media list. In addition, the days leading up to the tour included the release of targeted advisory to each media market near a tour stop. The initial release immediately generated coverage by the Associated Press that was picked up by numerous media outlets throughout the state. Unfortunately the number of outlets that ran AP copy cannot be quantified but we do know that KTTS Radio in Springfield, KOMU-TV in Columbia, KCTV5 in Kansas City and WGEM-TV in Hannibal posted the original AP story to their webpages. The release also generated immediate stories from KZIM/KSIM Radio in Cape Girardeau and the Southeast Missourian. Both stories were focused on the tour coming to Southeast Missouri to hold public hearings. Additionally, the Fox Radio Network, which includes six stations throughout Southeast Missouri, ran a news feature and posted the press release in its entirety to its website. Other pre-tour coverage includes stories from KJEL Radio in Lebanon and KJPW Radio in Waynesville, KIX Radio in Joplin, the Joplin Globe, Aurora Advertiser, Nodaway NewsLeader, St. Joseph News-Press, Independence Examiner and the Clayton Patch. Pre-event coverage also includes a favorable editorial from the Jefferson City News Tribune. Additionally, Rep. Curtman aggressively promoted the tour through a series of interviews with radio talk shows in media markets with tour stops. His interviews were featured on The Morning News Watch on KRZG-Joplin; Open Air on KWOS-Jefferson City; the KCMO Morning Show on KCMO-Kansas City; Morning News Watch on KZIM/KSIM-Cape Girardeau; The Charlie Brennan Show on KMOX-St. Louis; Morning Edition on KWOC-Poplar Bluff; Reardon Roundtable on KMOX-St. Louis; The Hotline â€“ KFEQ-St. Joseph; and Morning Line on KWTO-Springfield. Rep. Curtman also interviewed with Commonsense Coalition Talk Radio, which is carried on 13 radio stations located throughout Missouri as well as many more in the surrounding states. In total, the media coverage earned in advance of the tour includes Associated Press copy distributed throughout the state plus 8 print pieces, 15 radio features or interviews and 3 mentions by television stations. Broken down by region, the tour received 3 instances of coverage (1 print and 2 radio) in the St. Louis area; 5 instances of coverage (4 radio and 1 print) in Southeast Missouri; 6 instances of coverage (4 radio, 2 print) in Southwest Missouri, 6 instances of coverage (2 print, 3 radio, 1 TV) in Northwest Missouri (Kansas City/St. Joseph) and 3 instances of coverage (1 print, 1 radio, 1 TV) in Mid-Missouri.
Please note these numbers do not reflect all of the publications that ran AP copy nor does it include the total numbers of radio stations that aired the interview produced by the Commonsense Coalition Talk Radio. Coverage of the Tour and Post-Tour News Features As the tour progressed, media outlets continued to attend and cover the hearings. Coverage produced numerous positive stories in all media markets detailing the topics of discussion and often including a quote from Rep. Curtman. During this period of time, the Missourinet statewide radio network ran two stories â€“ one on July 16 and another as a wrap-up summary of the tour on July 19. These stories ran on average 5 to 7 times each day on the networkâ€™s approximately 60 affiliates throughout Missouri. To see a complete listing of all the stations that carry Missourinet news, please visit the following page: http://www.missourinet.com/radio-stations/ Radio coverage of the tour also was provided by KBIA Radio in Columbia, KCUR Radio in Kansas City and St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis. Coverage as the tour was ongoing also included print stories an Associated Press story that ran in numerous media outlets throughout the state, as well as articles written by the St. Louis Beacon, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Southeast Missourian, Springfield News-Leader, Joplin Globe, Carthage Press, St. Joseph Post, Columbia Daily Tribune, Jefferson City News Tribune, Aurora Advertiser, the Missouri Times, Missouri Torch and the Missouri Watchdog. Of note is that the Beacon and the Joplin Globe each ran two articles related to the hearings in their respective areas. Television coverage was provided by KOAM-TV in Joplin, KODE-TV in Joplin, KOLR TV in Springfield, KY3 TV in Springfield, KOMU-TV in Columbia. Also of note is that both the Aurora Advertiser and the Missouri Torch posted video interviews with Rep. Curtman to their webpages. In addition, the Washington Missourian wrote a positive editorial discussing the merits of the tour. In total, the media coverage earned during and after the tour includes Associated Press copy distributed throughout the state plus 15 print pieces, Missourinet coverage on 60 affiliates, 3 additional radio features on NPR affiliates and 5 instances of coverage by television stations. Broken down by region, the tour received 5 instances of coverage (4 print and 1 radio) in the St. Louis area; 2 instances of coverage (1 print and 1 TV) in Southeast Missouri; 8 instances of coverage (4 print, 4 TV) in Southwest Missouri, 3 instances of coverage (2 print, 1 radio) in Northwest Missouri (Kansas City/St. Joseph) and 4 instances of coverage (3 print, 1 TV) in Mid-Missouri. Archive of articles and links detailing tour coverage
RADIO KWOS – Jefferson City – Open Air live interview – July 15 - http://kwos.com/downsizing-stategovernment/ KZRG –Joplin – July 17 http://www.1310kzrg.com/pages/16838341.php?imageGalleryXRefId=3282939 and ran Missourinet story KTTS Radio – Springfield – July 16 - http://www.ktts.com/news/Missouri-House-CommitteeSchedules-Springfield-Hearing-215775851.html KMOX – St. Louis – Ran AP Copy on its website. Super Dave Radio Show -http://www.blogtalkradio.com/superdaveshow/2013/07/16/super-daveshow-down-sizing-government-what-would-you-do Fox Radio Network – Southeast Missouri – press release July 11 http://pro.kahr-fm.tritonflex.com/common/more.php?m=15&r=2&item_id=541 Interim Committee Coming To Area For Opinions State Rep. Paul Curtman and the members of his committee will seek input from the general public to generate new ideas to make state government smaller and more efficient. Curtman will lead the House Committee on Downsizing State Government on a statewide listening tour that will take place July 16, 17 and 18. Curtman said his goal with the tour is to give the people a voice in what he feels should be an ongoing dialogue concerning government's roles, responsibilities, and organization. His committee plans to travel to St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, Joplin, Kansas City, St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City to give Missourians the opportunity to share their ideas. “The common theme from the discussions I have had with Missourians from all walks of life is that government is too big and lacks the appropriate level of accountability,” said Curtman, R-Pacific. “I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish in the legislature as we have actively worked to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse from the system. However, I agree with the people that we can and should take additional steps to make government more efficient and effective so that it can do more with less.” During the 2013 session, Curtman’s committee worked on several bills to improve government efficiency including legislation to streamline regulatory processes within the Department of Natural Resources. House Speaker Tim Jones gave the members of the committee special leave to meet during the interim months to continue their work. “From our revenue department defying state law to comply with the Federal Real ID act and violate our privacy rights to our highway patrol wasting $5.6 million of taxpayer money on a plane for the -15-
governor, we have seen far too many egregious examples of an executive branch that is too big, too intrusive and too wasteful,” said Jones, R-Eureka. “The people deserve a government that is a model of efficiency and focused on treating each and every taxpayer dollar as the precious commodity it truly is. This is something I know the people are passionate about, and a discussion I am confident they will be thrilled to engage in with the members of the downsizing committee.” The Downsizing State Government Listening Tour will begin Tuesday, July 16 in St. Louis and also will include stops in Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff that day. On Wednesday, July 17 the committee will hold hearings in Springfield, Joplin and Kansas City. The tour wraps up Thursday, July 18 with hearings in St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City. “Unlike the bloated bureaucratic nightmare that our federal government has become, our state government continues to strive to become leaner and more productive. We reject the notion that a bigger government is better and that government should be involved in all aspects of our lives,” said Curtman. “I am confident the people will provide us with some outstanding suggestions that will lead to substantive reforms to downsize and refocus our state government.” KIX 102.5 – Joplin DOWNSIZING STATE GOVERNMENT HEARING IN JOPLIN WEDNESDAY A group of Missouri lawmakers looking into downsizing state government is holding a hearing in Joplin this week. Representative Paul Curtman is the Chairman of the Downsizing State Government Committee: "We're a group of lawmakers whose job is to look at state government policies and find out where the public wants us to get smaller so we can better work with them." The Joplin hearing will be at the Joplin Chamber of Commerce on East 4th Street at 11:30am. It's open to the public. July 15 - MYOZARKSONLINE.COM (KJEL –Lebanon and KJPW – Waynesville) A STATEWIDE TOUR TO GATHER IDEAS ON MAKING GOVERNMENT SMALLER KICKS OFF TOMORROW. STATE REPRESENTATIVE PAUL CURTMAN OF PACIFIC LEADS THE HOUSE COMMITEE ON DOWNSIZING STATE GOVERNMENT IN TRAVELS AROUND MISSOURI TO SEEK INPUT FROM THE GENERAL PUBLIC TO MAKE STATE GOVERNMENT SMALLER AND MORE EFFICIENT. CURTMAN SAYS HIS GOAL IS TO GIVE THE PEOPLE A VOICE IN WHAT HE FEELS SHOULD BE AN ONGOING DIALOGUE CONCERNING GOVERNMENT'S ROLES, RESPONSIBILITIES AND ORGANIZATION. CURTMAN SAYS THE COMMON THEME IN PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS WITH MISSOURIANS IS THAT GOVERNMENT IS TOO BIG AND LACKS THE APPROPRIATE LEVEL OF ACCOUNTABILITY. HE'S PROUD OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS TO ELIMINATE WASTE, FRAUD AND ABUSE FROM THE SYSTEM, HOWEVER, AGREES WITH PEOPLE THAT WE SHOULD TAKE ADDITIONAL STEPS TO MAKE GOVERNMENT MORE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE TO DO MORE WITH LESS. -16-
THE DOWNSIZING STATE GOVERNMENT LISTENING TOUR BEGINS TUESDAY IN ST. LOUIS, WITH STOPS IN POPLAR BLUFF AND CAPE GIRARDEAU. STOPS WEDNESDAY INCLUDE IN SPRINGFIELD, JOPLIN AND KANSAS CITY; WRAPPING UP THURSDAY WITH HEARINGS IN ST. JOSEPH, COLUMBIA AND JEFFERSON CITY. UNLIKE THE BLOATED BUREAUCRATIC NIGHTMARE OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS BECOME, CURTMAN SAYS OUR STATE GOVERNMENT CONTINUES TO STRIVE TO BECOME LEANER AND MORE PRODUCTIVE; REJECTING THE NOTION THAT BIGGER GOVERNMENT IS BETTER, AND THAT GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN ALL ASPECTS OF OUR LIVES. HE IS CONFIDENT THE PEOPLE WILL PROVIDE OUTSTANDING SUGGESTIONS LEADING TO SUBSTANTIAL REFORMS TO DOWNSIZE AND REFOCUS STATE GOVERNMENT July 16 – Missourinet House committee wants public ideas to downsize state government (AUDIO) http://www.missourinet.com/2013/07/16/house-committee-wants-public-ideas-todownsize-state-governmentaudio/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Misso uriNews+(Missourinet+News A House Committee on Downsizing State Government kicks off a series of hearings throughout the state to get ideas from the public. The committee was created three years ago by then-House Speaker Steve Tilley to gather input on cutting red tape, streamlining government services, and saving the state money. Chairman Paul Curtman (R-Union) says holding hearings in several places during the interim allows more people to be heard, and gives legislators time to craft meaningful legislation before session begins. The legislature last session passed a bill that reduces the number of stops a person must make to get permits from the Department of Natural Resources, an initiative Governor Nixon outlined in his State of the State Address. Curtman says that’s the type of action his committee is interested in. The first hearings this week have been held in St. Louis, Poplar Bluff and Cape Girardeau. Curtman says topping the list of concerns expressed by Missourians who attended … tax reform. Hearings continue this week in Springfield, Joplin, Kansas City, St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City. Go HERE for a list of locations, times and addresses. Curtman says those who cannot attend may call his office and leave a message; he’ll return their call to make sure their ideas are heard. He says another topic that’s arisen this week is Missourians saying they want to know how the state is spending their tax dollars, and whether there’s a way to measure if it’s spending that money wisely. He says reducing steps in certain permitting processes have come from previous years’ work, and says efforts continue to create electronic data systems that do away with unnecessary paperwork. Curtman says another priority is to clean up the law books and do away with those that are obsolete. -17-
You can listen in to the hearings on Curtman’s Ustream page HERE. Fox Radio Network in Poplar Bluff – video of hearing posted July 17 http://www.citylinktv.com/poplar-bluff-fox-network-tv KBIA (Columbia) and KCUR (Kansas City) – July 19 Downsizing Missouri Government Tour Ends At Capitol Missouri’s House Committee for Downsizing State Government has finished holding a series of public hearings around the state for citizens to share their ideas on how to cut down on state government spending. The committee began the hearings Tuesday in St. Louis, and finished up Thursday at the Capitol. Republican Representative Paul Curtman, the committee’s chairman, says citizens across the state turned out to express concerns and ideas about reducing the size of state government. “Some people, their concern is that there’s a lot of redundancies in our bureaucracies and that we’re using twice as much money to pay for a job to be done just one time,” says Curtman. Curtman says many people at the hearings spoke in support of an override of Governor Nixon’s veto on House Bill 253. That bill would cut tax rates for many Missourians, including the personal income tax rate. Alex Curchin with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry suggests an override. “House Bill 253 will place money back into the pockets of Missourians and that translates to Missourians making the election on where their hard-earned dollars are spent,” says Curchin. Other topics discussed included decriminalizing use of marijuana and ensuring that government workers spend their time actually working while on the job. Curtman says he hopes to have a rough list of recommendations for his committee to work on as soon as next week. KDKD Radio (Clinton, MO) - July 19 - ran Missourinet story (Confirmed) KWWR Radio (Mexico, MO) – July 19- Missourinet story (Confirmed) KWMU (St. Louis Public Radio) – July 19 Downsizing State Government Tour Ends At Mo. Capitol A Missouri House interim committee looking at ways to downsize state government wrapped up its three-day tour across the state with three meetings Thursday, in St. Joseph, Columbia, and at the State Capitol in Jefferson City.
Much of the testimony centered on the same themes at each stop, including a push by fiscal conservatives to override Governor Jay Nixon's (D) veto of the controversial tax cut bill (House Bill 253). Alexander Curchin is General Counsel-Governmental Affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "The inclination of government bureaucracy is to spend every nickel appropriated so that future budgets meet or exceed current ones," Curchin said. "There is largely no incentive to cut spending when budgets are overbalanced at the end of the fiscal year, and House Bill 253 directly reduces the percentage of government spending relative to the (Gross Domestic Product)." Other people testified in favor of reducing government regulations for small business owners, decriminalizing marijuana use, scrapping the state income tax in favor of an expanded sales tax, and removing games from computers used by state workers. Committee chairman Paul Curtman (R, Pacific) says they'll take all the comments they heard this week and use those to recommend bills for next year's legislative session. "One of the things we might look at," Curtman said, "we had a really good suggestion (from) a guy who said, 'I don’t know if Missouri has one of these measuring devises to measure the cost effectiveness of money after it's been appropriated, but maybe we need a formula to see whether or not the benefit outweighs the cost, or vice-versa.'" Curtman says an early draft of recommendations could be ready as soon as next week. July 19 – Missourinet Smaller government committee wraps up whirlwind hearing tour A House Committee that looks for ways to cut red tape and eliminate redundancies or unnecessary elements in government has wrapped up nine hearings in three days, throughout Missouri. Representative Paul Curtman (photo; Missouri House Communications) Representative Paul Curtman (R-Union) is the Chairman of the Committee on Downsizing State Government. He says he is going to be spending the next few days going back over pages of notes from each of the sessions, considering what ideas deserve more attention or even legislation. One suggestion that stands out to Curtman was made at the first hearing, in St. Louis. “We had a really good suggestion from a guy who said, ‘I don’t know if Missouri has one of these measuring devices to measure the cost-effectiveness of money after it’s been appropriated,’ he said, ‘but maybe we need a formula to see whether or not the benefit outweighs the cost, or visa-versa, to make sure that the people are getting their money’s worth out of government.’” Curtman says he will see if anything like that already exists in state government, and whether he thinks anything that does exist goes far enough. He says some issues were raised to the committee more than once. One was the veto by Governor Jay Nixon of legislation that would cut income taxes for Missouri individuals and businesses. -19-
At the final hearing on Thursday, Missouri Chamber of Commerce Lobbyist Alex Curchin told the committee for that bill to become law would help to downsize state government. “There were always those who told us taxes couldn’t be cut until spending was reduced. Well, you know, we can lecture our children about extravagance until we run out of voice and breath, or we can cure their extravagance by simply reducing their allowance. That’s what we believe House Bill 253 will do, is reduce the allowance and make government a more appropriate size by that broadbased tax cut.” Governor Nixon says that legislation would cost the state millions in revenue, jeopardizing state programs, and he withheld $400-million saying it’s necessary in case his veto is overridden. He told Missourians in Kirksville on Thursday that a part of the bill that would repeal a tax exemption on prescription drugs would also be a $200-million tax hike on Missourians. Curtman says another issue that was raised at more than one event was the proposed legalization of marijuana. “That is an organized effort. They have had people at almost every single hearing. I would say that fits within the parameters of our committee.” TV July 10 – KCTV5 – Kansas City – Ran AP copy on its website announcing tour July 16 – KODE-TV – Joplin - http://fourstateshomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=415032 July 17 - KOAM-TV – Joplin - http://www.koamtv.com/story/22868440/missouri-lawmakersvisit-joplin-to-discuss-downsizing-state-government-funding July 17 - KOLR-TV – Springfield - http://www.ozarksfirst.com/story/public-can-give-ideas-forreducing-government-today-in-springfield-and-joplin/d/story/G_QYvbaU00yVjjw58ntUFw July 18 – KOMU-TV – Columbia - Video - http://www.komu.com/news/tensions-run-high-inmeeting-on-downsizing-state-government/ July 19 – KY3-TV – Springfield – Ran AP copy on its website July 19 – KFVS-TV – Cape Girardeau – AP copy PRINT July 13 – Jefferson City News Tribune Our Opinion: Your turn to sound off on government efficiency News Tribune editorial Do you have ideas about how state government can be more efficient?
Your opportunity to share your thoughts with state lawmakers will come next week when the House Committee on Downsizing State Government hosts public hearings throughout the state. The panel, chaired by Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, will conclude its three-day listening tour at the Capitol. The local hearing will be at 4 p.m. Thursday in House Hearing Room 7. Prior to that, the panel will travel on Tuesday to St. Louis County, Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff and Springfield. Wednesday’s schedule includes stops in Joplin and Independence. Thursday will include visits to St. Joseph and Columbia before the panel returns to Jefferson City. Curtman said the meetings around the state will allow the panel to hear from Missourians about what they believe is the proper role of state government. Efficiency and effectiveness in government are perennial topics debated and discussed by both public servants and the public. • Do we expect government to confine itself to providing essential government services? If so, how is essential defined? • What is the most effective, and least burdensome, method to pay for those services? • Are there more efficient, and less costly, ways to deliver those services? Those questions only begin to scratch the surface of the ongoing dialogue about government’s role, revenues and responsibilities. Some of the people you have elected to make a difference are rolling out the welcome mat and are ready to listen. If you have an opinion, you won’t want to miss this opportunity. July 15 – Nodaway News-Leader Published press release - http://nodawaynews.com/pages/?p=10435 July 15 – Independence Examiner State legislators coming to Independence, seeking ideas for smaller government Independence, MO — The Missouri House Committee on Downsizing State Government will hold a hearing in Independence this week to get comments from the public. It’s from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Truman Library, 500 West U.S. 24. This week the committee is holding what it bills as a listening tour this week, making stops Tuesday in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff, Wednesday Springfield, Joplin and Independence, and Thursday in St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City. The General Assembly is not in session, -21-
but legislative committees sometimes hold hearings around the state to get information on bills that could be flled in the future. July 15 – Joplin Globe Committee on downsizing state government plans public hearing for Joplin JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers looking for ways to lessen the impact of state government will meet in Joplin on Wednesday as part of a nine-city listening tour. State Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, who serves as vice chairman of the House Committee on Downsizing State Government, said the group is charged with listening to people who think Missouri government is too intrusive or inhibiting of business or other efforts. “People feel like government is getting bigger and bigger, and bigger isn't always better,” Kelley said this week in advance of the meetings. "We want to get rid of statutes that are not needed or find programs that are being unsuccessful and eliminate those programs." Unlike interim committees meeting throughout the state this summer, the Committee on Downsizing State Government is a standing committee that will be listening to public concerns, rather than considering any specific legislation. "We're looking at eliminating things you've come to find out are more than a hassle to the citizens of Missouri than a benefit,” said Kelley. For example, Kelley said during the spring session of the General Assembly, the committee moved legislation that removed restrictions banning the sale of home-baked goods. State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, the chairman, said in a statement that the group is looking for areas where government is competing with or inhibiting private enterprise, inefficiencies or waste, suggestions to streamline government, and evidence that government has grown too intrusive. Kelley said he expects between four and six of the committee's 13 members to be at any given stop on the nine-city tour. State Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, also is on the committee. In addition to Joplin, the three-day tour will stop in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, Independence, St. Joseph, Columbia, and Jefferson City. The Missouri House Committee on Downsizing State Government will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, 320 E. 4th Street. July 15 – Aurora Advertiser Downsizing State Government Committee holds public hearings in southwest Missouri A Missouri House committee will take public input Wednesday as it looks for ways to make state government smaller and more efficient. -22-
A Missouri House committee will take public input Wednesday as it looks for ways to make state government smaller and more efficient. House Speaker Tim Jones and Downsizing State Government Committee Chairman Paul Curtman are urging southwest Missourians to make plans to attend the hearings that will take place in Springfield and Joplin. Curtman said his goal with the tour is to give the people a voice in what he feels should be an ongoing dialogue concerning government's roles, responsibilities, and organization. Speaker Jones gave the members of the House Downsizing State Government Committee special leave to meet during the interim months to continue their efforts to make government leaner and more responsive. “This is a great opportunity for Missourians to make their voices heard and to share their ideas on ways we can make their state government smaller, more efficient and less intrusive in the lives of our citizens,” said Jones, R-Eureka. The hearings are as follows: • Springfield -- Wednesday, July 17, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. at The Library Center [Meeting Room B] located at 4653 S. Campbell Avenue • Joplin -- Wednesday, July 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce located at 320 E. 4th Street The listening tour begins July 16 with stops in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff. The committee will hold a third hearing July 17 in Kansas City and will wrap up the tour on July 18 with stops in St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City July 15 - Clayton Patch Want to Downsize State Government? Meeting to Discuss Is Tuesday Do you think Missouri state government is too big? Too small? A Missouri House committee will take public input Tuesday morning as it looks for ways to make state government smaller and more efficient. According to a press release, House Speaker Tim Jones and Downsizing State Government Committee Chairman Paul Curtman will attend the hearing. The event is scheduled for 9-10 a.m., Tuesday, July 16, in the Lawrence K. Roos Government Building in Clayton. Curtman said his goal with the tour is to give the people a voice in what he feels should be an ongoing dialogue concerning government's roles, responsibilities, and organization. Speaker Jones gave the members of the committee special leave to meet during the interim months to continue their efforts to make government leaner and more responsive, the press release stated.
“This is a great opportunity for Missourians to make their voices heard and to share their ideas on ways we can make their state government smaller, more efficient and less intrusive,” said Jones, REureka, in the release.
Who: Missouri House Committee on Downsizing State Government What: Hearing to take input from the public Where: St. Louis County Council Chamber located at 41 South Central Avenue, 1st floor in Clayton. When: 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., Tuesday, July 16 Can't make it? The St. Louis hearing will be live-streamed at http://m.ustream.tv/channel/paulcurtman. July 16 – St. Joseph News-Press Hearing Thursday to focus on downsizing government A Missouri House committee will take public input Thursday morning as it looks for ways to make state government smaller and more efficient. House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, and Paul Curtman, chairman of the Downsizing State Government Committee, are urging residents to attend the hearing at 9 a.m. at the East Hills Library. Mr. Curtman said his goal with the hearing to give residents a voice in what he feels should be an ongoing dialogue concerning government’s roles, responsibilities and organization. “This is a great opportunity for Missourians to make their voices heard and to share their ideas on ways we can make their state government smaller, more efficient and less intrusive in the lives of our citizens,” Mr. Jones said. The two are on a two-day tour of the state, which includes stops in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Springfield, Joplin, Columbia and Jefferson City. July 16 – Missouri Torch Statement from Rep. Paul Curtman Regarding Resounding Success of First Downsizing State Government Hearing in St. Louis Rep. Curtman just released this statement: ST. LOUIS – Dozens of Missourians turned out in St. Louis Tuesday morning to share their ideas and suggestions with the members of the Missouri House Committee on Downsizing State Government. In response to the success of the first hearing for the committee’s statewide listening tour, Chairman Paul Curtman issued the following statement: “I am extremely pleased with the success of the first hearing and the level of participation we saw from such a large group of citizens who are obviously passionate about finding ways to make our government leaner and more efficient. If the turnout at the St. Louis hearing is any indication of what we can expect at the stops on the rest of our tour, the committee is going to benefit from a -24-
diverse range of outstanding suggestions from Missourians from all walks of life. This is what we hoped for when we decided to travel the state to take public input, and it is encouraging to see the people of Missouri are taking advantage of this opportunity,” said Curtman, R-Pacific. Following the success of the St. Louis hearing, the committee will hold two more public hearings today in Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff today. The committee then moves to Springfield, Joplin and Kansas City on Wednesday before wrapping up the tour with stops in St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City on Thursday. July 16 – St. Louis Beacon Best way to downsize government? Cut taxes and legalize marijuana, speakers tell panel End state involvement in public education. Curb the state’s use of federal grants. Cut taxes to reduce state income. And legalize marijuana. Those were among the most frequent suggestions posed Tuesday morning by many of the roughly 50 area residents – some of them state lawmakers -- who showed up in Clayton for the first in a series of hearings around the state this week by the Missouri House Committee on downsizing state government.
Chairman Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, called the one-hour session a “resounding success’’ and said in an interview that some proposals will likely end up in legislation he plans to introduce when the General Assembly goes back into session in January. The panel was set up state House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, who has said he’s committed to pressing for cuts in state government during his final year as speaker. Tuesday’s one-hour session was the only hearing in the St. Louis area. Virtually all of the speakers were conservatives decrying the growth of government at all levels. Complaints of too much regulation, federal aid David Day, an online radio host in Arnold, said he was confident that Curtman would follow through with his pledge to trim back. “He’s out to cut the waste,’’ said Day, adding that “waste’’ referred to many government operations that he believed were not needed. Day, for example, told the committee that people in business – from hairdressers to physicians – had too many regulations and license requirements and that it should be up to the public, not government, to determine who was qualified and who isn’t. Anne Gassel of Ellisville said that the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education relied too much on federal grants and called for the General Assembly to approve any state agency's application for federal money.
Gassel said that state officials often failed to compute the “lifetime costs’’ of the programs or personnel temporarily funded with federal dollars. Former state Sen. Jim Lembke, R-Lemay, cited the new state budget’s allocation of $68 million in federal money to pay for technology upgrades at the state Department of Social Services. Lembke noted that he had helped block the acceptance of the money earlier because the upgrades might be used to help implement Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Lembke told the committee that state legislators needed to make sure that the improvements results in the staff cuts that the department has promised. State Rep. Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, offered up a similar warning, saying that term limits tended to make it more difficult for the General Assembly to follow through with its efforts to curb the state’s bureaucracy. State Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, asserted that the best way to rein in government was to cut the flow of money to fund it. He called for the panel’s help in overriding Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of SB253, a bill that cuts business taxes in half over five years, and trims individual tax rates as well. Laura Hausladen of Bourbon, Mo., proposed that the state bar regional planning commissions and similar bodies, such as economic development commissions. "They are a non-representative form of government and, in my opinion, unAmerican," she said. Call to legalize marijuana Arguably the most intriguing suggestion was made by several speakers appearing on behalf of Show Me Cannabis, a group out to legalize – or, at minimum, decriminalize – marijuana. Executive Director John Payne said that such a move could reduce the state’s bottom line by as much as $150 million a year -- $90 million from cutting law-enforcement costs, and $60 million in increased state income by regulations and fees on the drug’s production and possession. Curtman said he was paying serious attention to the proposal, which has begun to generate legislative interest and some bills – so far, none successful. Curtman didn’t say if marijuana would figure into his legislative plans. The panel planned to hold more hearings Tuesday in Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff, followed by Wednesday sessions in Springfield, Joplin and Kansas City. The committee’s final stops are to be next Thursday in St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City. Said Curtman after the St. Louis event: “If the turnout at the St. Louis hearing is any indication of what we can expect at the stops on the rest of our tour, the committee is going to benefit from a diverse range of outstanding suggestions from Missourians from all walks of life.” July 16 – Missouri Times House committee to decrease government size wraps up first day of hearings
The House Downsizing State Government Committee started its three-day listening tour Tuesday morning in Clayton, Mo., where the four members who were able to attend listened to citizens express thoughts and concerns about state government. About a dozen citizens testified to the Committee, which met in the St. Louis County Council chamber, leading just up to the one-hour mark when Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Curtman, RPacific, called for adjournment. After their St. Louis hearing the Committee had to travel to Cape Girardeau and later Poplar Bluff, Mo. “I am extremely pleased with the success of the first hearing and the level of participation we saw from such a large group of citizens who are obviously passionate about finding ways to make our government leaner and more efficient,” Curtman said in a statement Tuesday. “If the turnout at the St. Louis hearing is any indication of what we can expect at the stops on the rest of our tour, the committee is going to benefit from a diverse range of outstanding suggestions from Missourians from all walks of life.” The roundabout 40 attendees spanned gender, age, race and career, and for the 12 or so that spoke, their opinions about priorities for downsizing government also spanned the realm of principles. Medicaid expansion came up multiple times during the hearing as citizens urged the representatives to continue the legislature’s fight against expansion. Among those who explicitly discussed their Medicaid qualms was former Sen. Jim Lembke who now works for United for Missouri. “I encourage you to not think twice about expanding a Medicaid program that is broken in this state,” Lembke said to the panel before encouraging the consideration of a “10 percent haircut” to every state department. Only four representatives from the 13-person Committee were at the meeting: Reps. Curtman, Mike Kelly (vice chair), Chrissy Sommer and Paul Wieland. None of the four Democrat representatives who sit on the committee were in attendance. Curtman said many of those who were absent were stuck in traffic. Another issue that came up twice during the hearing was the decriminalization of marijuana. Executive Director of the Show Me Cannabis campaign, John Payne — a 2005 Washington University graduate — spoke in support of the areas in the state that have already decriminalized marijuana, and said urged them to support legislation that would implement statewide legalization next year. A second Show Me Cannabis advocate, Gary Wiegert, also spoke in favor of “downsizing charges of marijuana,” which he said is an alternative phrase he prefers to decriminalization. Wiegert, a St. Louis police officer, said the money it would save the state and police departments to issues a summons instead of the current penalties would be, essentially, worth everyone’s while. -27-
The critiques went on from ethics reform to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s negative audit, as well as criticism of the International Revenue Service that drew an audible “amen” and applause from the crowd. Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, took the opportunity to speak — along with Rep. Rick Stream — after the testimonies about House Bill 253, the tax cut bill. “We have an opportunity in September to downsize state government in the veto session,” Schmitt said about HB 253. “Generally, through the appropriations process we spend what we have. For us to be able to return what we have will inherently help reduce the size of government.” The Downsizing State Government committee has two more days of their hearings across the state and is live-streaming each one via Curtman’s UStream. Curtman also is asking provide additional questions or suggestions via Twitter using the #DownsizeMOGov hashtag, which appears to be garnering quite a bit of commentary. July 17 – Southeast Missourian Residents kick off Mo. House listening tour with many concerns, suggestions Four members of a Missouri House of Representatives standing committee heard from the public on term limits, taxation, spending and education programs Tuesday in Cape Girardeau on the first day of a statewide "listening tour." State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, chairman of the House Committee on Downsizing State Government, led the public hearing, which is one of nine the committee will hold through Thursday in various cities. Curtman was joined by state Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, Rep. Paul Wieland, RImperial, and Rep. Chrissy Sommer, R-St. Charles. About 20 members of the public and the media attended the hour-long hearing at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. While the intent of the committee was to hear comments and suggestions from people who believe government is too large, powerful and intrusive, public comments covered multiple issues dealt with annually by the Legislature. Doug Austin of Cape Girardeau said the state should make changes to laws governing term limits so state representatives can serve two four-year terms instead of the four two-year terms they may serve now. "It would produce much greater efficiency in your office and more time spent on the job," Austin said. "All Missouri citizens would benefit, both in time and money, with this change." Austin also asked the committee members to stop allowing amendments to be added to legislation that are unrelated to a bill's intent. Mike Masterson, also of Cape Girardeau, told the committee he felt citizens could be just as well served with fewer state representatives than the current 163. He also said he does not feel citizens -28-
should be paying into a pension fund for state legislators who do not serve a long time in the General Assembly. Several members of the public called upon the Legislature for action to create a fair tax or flat-tax system to replace Missouri's current tax codes. Curtman recommended the public testify in House committee meetings in the state capitol during the next regular session to show support for a change to a "fair tax," for which a bill is filed in the House each year. Janet Criddle came to speak on Common Core standards, which she said applied to the committee's work because implementation of the standards "will bloat government." Public schools are undergoing a transition to the standards, which are replacing grade-level requirements for English/language arts and mathematics from kindergarten through 12th grade. Cheryl Ginter, a retired teacher who lives in Cape Girardeau, said she is concerned about the number of laws on the books -- there are too many to know and obey, she said. Ginter suggested a basic booklet of laws be created for citizens. Ginter also asked to see more working together between Republicans and Democrats and simplified state and federal tax codes. "God got the Ten Commandments down to a few sentences," Ginter said. "Why can't the government?" State reps. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, and Shelley Keeney, R-Marble Hill, also attended the hearing. Curtman said no Democratic members of the committee were able to make the Cape Girardeau stop but would be participating in other hearings throughout the state as schedules allowed. The committee also was holding a hearing in Poplar Bluff, Mo., on Tuesday. July 17 â€“ Aurora Advertiser Video interview with Rep. Curtman http://www.auroraadvertiser.net/section?template=videodetail&vid=2551713974001&vidtitle=Do wnsizing Missouri Government July 17 â€“ Joplin Globe Downsizing state government committee to hold hearing in Joplin today JOPLIN, Mo. â€” Lawmakers seeking ways to lessen the impact of state government will meet in Joplin today as part of a nine city listening tour. The lawmakers are members of the Missouri House Committee on Downsizing State Government. State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, committee chairman, said in a statement that the group is looking for areas where government is competing with or inhibiting private enterprise, areas where there is inefficiency or waste, suggestions to streamline government, and evidence that government has grown too intrusive. State Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, and state Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, are on the committee. They will meet from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Joplin Chamber of Commerce, 320 E. 4th St. -29-
July 17 – Joplin Globe House committee hears testimony at meeting in Joplin By Eli Yokley email@example.com JOPLIN, Mo. — A Missouri House of Representatives committee tasked with downsizing state government met in Joplin on Wednesday, but while its meeting did not draw a large crowd, members said their statewide swing is bearing results. The committee meeting held at the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce drew about a dozen people, a contrast from other meetings that have drawn larger crowds, said Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, who is vice-chairman of the committee. In the 17-minute hearing, Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, spoke up to call on lawmakers to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income-tax cut passed by lawmakers earlier this spring. House Committee on Downsizing Government Chairman Paul Curtman, R-St. Louis, said the issue was beyond the scope of his committee, but said he supported a veto override. “If we find ways to make government more efficient, the less (tax dollars) they need,’’ Curtman said. Joplin was the fifth stop on the committee’s nine-city tour this week. Curtman said at each stop, members heard from people who support overriding Nixon’s veto. The other topic that arose was the issue of marijuana decriminalization. The topic arose on Tuesday at the committee’s meetings in St. Louis and Poplar Bluff, as well as earlier on Wednesday in Springfield, Curtman said. The issue came up on the last day of the session during a brief committee meeting this spring, but did not make it to the floor for debate. Curtman, a former Marine who campaigned for libertarian-leaning Republicans like Ron Paul and John Brunner during the 2012 election, was noncommittal when asked whether he thought the decriminalization issue would move forward in Missouri, but was happy to hear the input. “I think it is great that they’re younger people and they’re involved,’’ he said. At other meetings, Curtman said, people have suggested cutting back on the size of the General Assembly or implementing some sort of tracking site to measure the effectiveness of state appropriations. “If nothing else, it helps us get the pulse of the public. What are their ideas? Financial issues or bureaucratic policy?’’ he asked, adding people who were unable to attend could submit input to his office or via Twitter using the hashtag “#DownsizeMOGov.” Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, who also serves on the committee, said he was interested in issues like regulations from the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s implementation of federally requested, state administered common core -30-
standards in schools. Following the Joplin stop, Curtman and Kelley finished their day at another meeting in Independence. They will wrap up their tour today with stops in Columbia and Jefferson City.
July 17 – St. Louis Post-Dispatch Missouri lawmakers: Coming to a town near you A state House panel studying ways to “downsize state government” is on a marathon this week – holding nine hour-long hearings all across the state to get input from Missourians. On Tuesday, members of the interim committee were in St. Louis, Cape Girardeau and Poplar Bluff. Wednesday they’ll make stops in Springfield, Joplin and Independence, and on Thursday they are covering St. Joseph, Columbia and Jefferson City. Similarly, a committee made up of House members and appointed state residents studying Medicaid was in Springfield Tuesday and Independence last week. They’ll be traveling to Columbia next week, Kennett on July 31, northwestern Missouri Aug. 7 and St. Louis on Aug. 14. And other House panels are likely to follow suit with their own state tours between now and December. July 17 – St. Louis Beacon House committee to decrease government size wraps up first day of hearings ST. LOUIS — The House Downsizing State Government Committee started its three-day listening tour Tuesday morning in Clayton, Mo., where the four members who were able to attend listened to citizens express thoughts and concerns about state government. About a dozen citizens testified to the Committee, which met in the St. Louis County Council chamber, leading just up to the one-hour mark when Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Curtman, RPacific, called for adjournment. After their St. Louis hearing the Committee had to travel to Cape Girardeau and later Poplar Bluff, Mo. “I am extremely pleased with the success of the first hearing and the level of participation we saw from such a large group of citizens who are obviously passionate about finding ways to make our government leaner and more efficient,” Curtman said in a statement Tuesday. “If the turnout at the St. Louis hearing is any indication of what we can expect at the stops on the rest of our tour, the committee is going to benefit from a diverse range of outstanding suggestions from Missourians from all walks of life.”
The roundabout 40 attendees spanned gender, age, race and career, and for the 12 or so that spoke, their opinions about priorities for downsizing government also spanned the realm of principles. Medicaid expansion came up multiple times during the hearing as citizens urged the representatives to continue the legislature’s fight against expansion. Among those who explicitly discussed their Medicaid qualms was former Sen. Jim Lembke who now works for United for Missouri.
“I encourage you to not think twice about expanding a Medicaid program that is broken in this state,” Lembke said to the panel before encouraging the consideration of a “10 percent haircut” to every state department. Only four representatives from the 13-person Committee were at the meeting: Reps. Curtman, Mike Kelly (vice chair), Chrissy Sommer and Paul Wieland. None of the four Democrat representatives who sit on the committee were in attendance. Curtman said many of those who were absent were stuck in traffic. Another issue that came up twice during the hearing was the decriminalization of marijuana. Executive Director of the Show Me Cannabis campaign, John Payne — a 2005 Washington University graduate — spoke in support of the areas in the state that have already decriminalized marijuana, and said urged them to support legislation that would implement statewide legalization next year. A second Show Me Cannabis advocate, Gary Wiegert, also spoke in favor of “downsizing charges of marijuana,” which he said is an alternative phrase he prefers to decriminalization. Wiegert, a St. Louis police officer, said the money it would save the state and police departments to issues a summons instead of the current penalties would be, essentially, worth everyone’s while. The critiques went on from ethics reform to the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s negative audit, as well as criticism of the International Revenue Service that drew an audible “amen” and applause from the crowd. Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-St. Louis County, took the opportunity to speak — along with Rep. Rick Stream — after the testimonies about House Bill 253, the tax cut bill. “We have an opportunity in September to downsize state government in the veto session,” Schmitt said about HB 253. “Generally, through the appropriations process we spend what we have. For us to be able to return what we have will inherently help reduce the size of government.” The Downsizing State Government committee has two more days of their hearings across the state and is live-streaming each one via Curtman’s UStream. Curtman also is asking provide additional questions or suggestions via Twitter using the #DownsizeMOGov hashtag, which appears to be garnering quite a bit of commentary. St. Joseph Post – July 17 -32-
Wanted: Your Ideas For Downsizing State Government A legislative committee on downsizing state government holds a public hearing in Saint Joseph Thursday morning. Chairman Paul Curtman, state representative from Union, says in its three-year history the committee has passed several bills to streamline government. It has also removed unfunded or unused laws from the books. Curtman says the committee is holding hearings around the state instead of in the capital to make it more convenient for busy residents to provide input…and new ideas. The Saint Joseph hearing is scheduled for 9 Thursday morning in the East Hills Library. The committee will wrap up its hearings Thursday afternoon in Jefferson City. July 17 - Springfield News-Leader Downsizing state government Grow government or grow economy, says one speaker at legislative meeting Citizens who showed up to speak Wednesday morning at a legislative meeting in Springfield on how to downsize state government also heard from a group sponsored by Rex Sinquefield. At the hourlong hearing of the House Downsizing State Government Committee, part of a statewide listening tour, David Jackson with Grow Missouri spoke in support of a tax cut bill passed by the General Assembly and vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon. According to the Missouri Ethics Commission, Grow Missouri was created on July 8. On July 9, Sinquefield, the wealthy St. Louis businessman, donated $1.3 million to the group. Jackson is a registered lobbyist for the group as of Wednesday. The group is urging the legislature to override House Bill 253. Sponsored by Rep. T.J. Berry, RExcelsior Springs, the bill would lower the top personal income tax rate one half of 1 percent, from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. The cuts would be implemented 1/20th of a percent a year. In addition, the bill includes a trigger so that the next cut would only happen if the revenue taken in by the state the previous year exceeded the revenue taken in during one of the previous three years by at least $100 million. The bill also would have reduced the corporate income tax rate by 3 percent over three years. “We have two options. We can either grow the size of the economy or grow the size of government,” Jackson said. Jackson said the bill provides for the first cut in Missouri tax rates in decades. He said Kansas, which enacted a more severe tax cut that began in January, ended FY 2013 with $87 million above what was projected. But while Kansas tax revenue came in above what was projected, the total amount of revenue collected was down year over year for the months of May and June. The Kansas City Star reported that income tax revenue was down 17 percent in June 2013 compared with June 2012. Mayor Bob Stephens also addressed Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, the committee chairman, and Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, vice-chairman. No other committee members were present. Stephens said the city each year must study the fees it charges under the Hancock Amendment to the Missouri Constitution, which says that fees cannot be increased above what is authorized by law without voter approval. -33-
“I would simply ask that state agencies be forced to do the same,” Stephens said. After the meeting, Stephens told the News-Leader that a state agency recently imposed a 170 percent fee increase on the city. He said the increase was eventually dropped to 20 percent. Stephens declined to give more information about the agency or the fee, citing “delicate” negotiations. Curtman and Kelley also took testimony on a variety of topics — from regulation of truckers to marijuana decriminalization. One man said he thinks the Missouri legislature is too big, with 163 representatives and 34 senators. He suggested the state could save money by reducing the number of legislators. Curtman responded that he was torn on the issue, adding that it is good for the lawmakers to remain close to the people they represent, something that would be harder to do with fewer legislators. “These days also, there’s a lot more money involved in people getting elected,” Curtman said. “There’s a lot more special interests involved.” July 17 - Missouri Watchdog MO downsizing gov’t committee travels to Columbia, Jeff City Thursday By Johnny Kampis | Missouri Watchdog Do you want to make your government smaller and more efficient? Now’s the time to let your voice be heard, as a House committee continues its listening tour through Missouri. LESS IS MORE? A committee discussing downsizing state government is listening to public concerns this week. Lawmakers will meet the public at the University of Missouri Reynolds Alumni Center in Columbia at 2 p.m. Thursday and in House Hearing Room 7 at the state Capitol in Jefferson City at 4 p.m. Thursday. A large crowd spoke to the Downsizing State Government Committee in St. Louis Tuesday. “This is what we hoped for when we decided to travel the state to take public input, and it is encouraging to see the people of Missouri are taking advantage of this opportunity,” said Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, the committee chairman.
During the session in Cape Girardeau Tuesday afternoon, Doug Austin suggested that House members’ term limits should be changed from two four-year terms to four two-year terms, the Southeast Missourian reported. “It would produce much great efficiency in your office and more time spent on the job,” he said. “All Missouri citizens would benefit, both in time and money, with this change.” The goal of the tour is to allow people an ongoing dialogue with lawmakers about government’s organization, roles and responsibilities, Curtman said. House Speaker Tim Jones, who formed the committee, said he wants to hear ideas for ways to make “state government smaller, more efficient and less intrusive in the lives of our citizens.” The post MO downsizing gov’t committee travels to Columbia, Jeff City Thursday appeared first on Watchdog.org. July 18 – Carthage Press Missouri State legislative committee meets in Joplin The Joplin stop for a Missouri State legislative committee on a statewide tour to talk about downsizing state government came at an awkward time for most people who work for a living, possibly explaining the sparse attendance. The Joplin stop for a Missouri State legislative committee on a statewide tour to talk about downsizing state government came at an awkward time for most people who work for a living, possibly explaining the sparse attendance. State Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Lamar, said attendance at previous meetings of this committee in Springfield earlier Wednesday and in St. Louis on Tuesday were standing room only, with dozens of people speaking out and giving suggestions on how to streamline government. Only one person spoke at the Joplin meeting, which was held at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, and his question was regarding bringing legislation to relax marijuana possession laws before a committee earlier in the session. “This meeting here had the lowest attendance we've had, but that doesn't get me down or anything,” said State Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, chairman of the interim committee on downsizing state government. “The point is we're trying to make ourselves available and accessible and sometimes it's inconvenience because it is the middle of the day and we're holding three different meetings in a day.” A few others trickled in after the meeting was adjourned and before the lawmakers left Joplin for their meeting in Kansas City and spoke to the legislators. Kelly, a member of the committee along with State Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, said the ideas coming from the public are eye-opening. “We've heard examples of waste in (the Department of Social Services),” Kelly said. “For example, we had one that was brought up where a person had been receiving assistance. His wife had gone back to school to become a nurse and after she finished she said okay we no longer need this, cut us off and they said DSS was almost argumentative with them. We can still get you for another six months or this or that, he said it was almost like a fight to get them to take me off the rolls. That was one example that really just jumped out at me.” Curtman, during his introduction, said the committee was seeking and had heard about examples where state agencies were duplicating services offered by other state agencies or by private businesses or instances where the state was competing with private businesses. He told of testimony by a woman who owns a campground, but has to compete with campgrounds in state parks and is regulated and has to pay taxes to the state with whom she competes. “We're looking for some good ideas for -35-
legislation of substance that will actually have a positive impact on our government and people alike,” Curtman said. “We'd like to get some information from people who have first hand experience who can tell us how to streamline government, things they think we might be able to do to make government less costly to operate and just be more responsible.We're also looking for those area where we might have to scale back bureaucracy because it's becoming too intrusive.” July 18 - Missouri Torch Video interview with Rep. Curtman http://themissouritorch.com/2013/07/18/interview-rep-paul-curtman-statewide-hearingsdownsizing-state-government-committee/ July 18 - Columbia Daily Tribune Panel hears ideas for downsizing Missouri's government A legislative committee looking for ways to make state government smaller was told during a hearing Thursday in Columbia to overhaul state taxes, cut back on rules for business licensing and legalize marijuana. Some in the audience of 20 at the Reynolds Alumni Center on the University of Missouri campus told the House Downsizing Government Committee that they are asking the wrong question. Instead, they said, it should be “rightsizing” state government, as some advocated expanding Medicaid and others called on the legislature to stop trying to control women’s reproductive decisions. “Get out of my vagina and leave women alone,” Susan Gibson said. The ideas presented were similar to those heard at other stops on the multi-city listening tour, Chairman Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, said. The committee will use the ideas to generate legislation next year, he said. One group that has made its presence known at each hearing advocates ending income taxes in favor of sales taxes, which supporters call the “fair tax.” Fred Berry of Columbia, who sought a legislative seat last year, said a tax cut measure passed this year was a good start. “I would like to see the legislature go even further,” he said. The bill, to cut personal and corporate income tax rates and exempt up to half of business income from taxes, was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon. Taxes are not part of the committee’s jurisdiction, Curtman said. “This is not the Ways and Means Committee, but I think it is important that they know we are listening,” he said. Five of the 13 committee members attended the hearing. The only Democrat, Rep. John Wright of Rocheport, said he “agreed with a lot of comments made,” especially the question of whether the committee has the right focus. -36-
“It ought to be called rightsizing as opposed to downsizing because some of the most critical investments we make, we make through government,” he said. Dan Viets, president of Missouri NORML and secretary of the group’s national board, said legalizing marijuana would save millions of dollars and free prison and jail space for more serious offenders. The current prohibition, he said, is “futile, pointless, damaging and counterproductive.” Few people are incarcerated for marijuana offenses, he said, but use of the drug can result in probation and parole violations that trigger prison terms. Legalization also would protect college students who can lose their financial aid if convicted of possessing marijuana. Curtman, who held a late hearing during the legislative session on a bill reducing marijuana penalties, said he wants the debate to continue. “Having that debate in committee is kind of a testing ground” to gauge support, he said. July 19 – Associated Press Advocates for tax cuts, pot use testify in Mo. JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A Missouri House committee that has been taking public testimony on ways to make government smaller has heard a lot about tax cuts and marijuana. Committee chairman Paul Curtman says advocates for legalizing marijuana have testified at many of the committee's hearings around the state. They say the state could save millions in prison costs while also generating millions of tax dollars. People wanting lawmakers to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of an income tax cut also have turned out at multiple hearings. Curtman says one of the best suggestions to come from the hearings is a proposed formula to determine the cost effectiveness of state expenditures. During a hearing Thursday at the Capitol, one woman also suggested removing games from state computers to prevent employees from wasting time. July 19 - Columbia Missourian – ran AP copy July 19 - Jefferson City News Tribune Missouri House panel holds final ‘downsizing government’ hearing
Cutting taxes, making sure state employees are doing their jobs and legalizing marijuana were three of the ideas pitched Thursday afternoon to a Missouri House committee looking at ways to make government more efficient. Scheduled for an hour, the Downsizing State Government Committee’s final hearing of a three-day, nine-city tour was over in 35 minutes on Thursday. -37-
Former House General Counsel Alex Curchin, now the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s general counsel and governmental affairs director, urged his former colleagues to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the “tax cut” bill. “(House Bill) 253 represents an opportunity to slow government spending by reducing the total revenues the state receives,” Curchin reminded the committee members. “House Bill 253 will place money back into the pockets of Missourians — and that translates to Missourians making the election of where their hard-earned dollars are spent.” In his six-page veto message last month, Nixon said he rejected the bill as “an ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible experiment that would inject far-reaching uncertainty into our economy.” Curchin disagreed.So did Ray McCarty, Associated Industries of Missouri president, who also proposed that lawmakers take another look at what some call TABOR, or a taxpayers’ bill of rights, which is “limiting the amount (of money) you appropriate.” He said the idea would require the state to save some of its money each year into the “Rainy Day” fund so that, in bad economic years, “the state isn’t scrambling, trying to find programs to cut.” Earl Williamson, executive director of FairTax-Missouri, urged the lawmakers to pass a state version of the national plan to replace income taxes with a larger sales tax. “You would reduce the size of government in a number of ways,” he said, suggesting that many of the Revenue department employees displaced by the change could be “turned over to the state auditor, actually put them to work searching out waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, state contracts, MoDOT — think of the entire alphabet soup that we have in state government.” Peggy Barry, Holts Summit, said she had been placed in a state government position by a private jobs agency on a couple of different occasions and, while she was working, “the employees of the state were playing games on the computers (during) business hours.” She said her husband, a contractor’s employee, saw similar instances and “all-morning parties” when he visited state offices.
“If we’re going to save money and cut back government, I think we need to start looking at what our employees are doing with the time they’re being paid for,” Barry said. Nancy Steward, Linn Creek, who co-owns an upholstery shop, told about a previous job she had where she and others would spend time installing safety improvements in order to pass the staterequired safety inspection for insurance coverage. “I would spend a couple of hours putting the (safety equipment) on,” Steward reported,” and then I wouldn’t sew anything, because it was more dangerous to have it on than have it off. ...
“Then the inspector would leave, and I’d take it back off.” Steward said her main point was “that there are so many things ... where we’re spending money we don’t need to spend.” Jefferson City lawyer Dan Dodson told the committee it should support legalizing marijuana. “The economics of legalization of hemp and marijuana are very obvious,” Dodson said, noting that papers he distributed to the panel show that making hemp and marijuana legal would add “something in the neighborhood of $150 million” to the state’s economy each year. He said he’s seen many reports “where some guy drank a 12-pack and smacked his wife or girlfriend around, (but) the number of times I’ve seen where someone smoked marijuana and did that is never, never, never-ever.” Dodson also urged the committee to consider how many more people could be earning wages and paying taxes, instead of being sent to prison, if marijuana use were legalized. Committee Chairman Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, said the panel would consider all the ideas it’s heard this week and, possibly, propose new laws based on Missourians’ comments. July 20 – Washington Missourian Suggestion Has Merit This is the season for state legislative road trips. Lawmakers use the time when they are not in session to gather information, solicit comments from the public and do some fact-finding on whatever area of government that are tasked with legislating in preparation for drafting bills next session. An interim House committee looking at ways to downsize government led by Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific, just wrapped up a three-day tour across the state Thursday. The committee heard, among other things, testimony on reducing government regulations for small business owners, replacing the state income tax with an expanded sales tax and removing games from computers used by state workers. The comments were pretty typical of what you might expect at one of these types of public hearings. They generally covered the same themes. Even testimony in favor of legalizing marijuana would have to be considered pretty standard fare given recent national trends. But Curtman said one of the best suggestions he heard came from a man who asked whether a formula could be devised to determine the cost-effectiveness of every state expenditure. The formula would determine whether or not the benefit outweighs the cost. While it’s true that the state, like the federal government, already does some performance assessment of its various programs and operations, more rigorous analysis could and should be done.
Every government program should be rated and scrutinized and if it isn’t found to be cost-effective, it should be modified or eliminated. That’s just common sense. This type of cost-benefit analysis is done in the business sector every day. But it is not as easy when assessing deeply entrenched government-sponsored bureaucracies. Regardless, the suggestion has merit. We wish Rep. Curtman luck in figuring out that formula. Mentions on non-traditional media sites: Americans for Prosperity Turner Report Missouri GOP SEMOevents.com SEMOTODAY.com MO House Committee to Host Listening Sessions Across State--Includes Cape The House Committee on Downsizing State Government will host a statewide listening tour that’s scheduled to stop in Cape Girardeau on Tuesday next week. The committee will seek input from the public to generate new ideas on making state government smaller and more efficient. The committee will meet from 1 to 2 in the Oscar Hirsch Room at the Cape Girardeau Public Library. The committee also will meet in Saint Louis and Poplar Bluff on Tuesday. Platterepublicans.org – Tour schedule posted KCMETRO.COM - http://kcmetro.com/2013071658449/local-news/independence-mo/statelegislators-coming-to-independence-seeking-ideas-for-smaller-government.html