Last week, the Missouri Senate showed us that its idea of a compromise is to kill projects that create jobs in order to accept federal money to help the long-term unemployed. Several Republican senators led by Sen. Jim Lembke of St. Louis County agreed to halt a filibuster against renewing federal long-term unemployment benefits after Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer agreed to help the filibustering senators identify $250 million of federal stimulus spending that could be cut from the state's budget. Lembke had joined with Will Kraus of Lee's Summit, Rob Schaaf of St. Joseph and Brian Nieves of Washington to send a message about federal spending.
"I won! I won!" crowed Republican Sen. Lembke in response to the flawed deal its leaders cut to end the filibuster. However, Missouri taxpayers should understand that the winners would actually be other states that would receive the $250 million that Lembke and his colleagues want to return to Washington. While I understand their concerns about federal spending, this is not a logical resolution for Missouri. Missouri residents pay taxes to the federal government and as long as federal stimulus money is available, Missour residents should receive their share of the federal "pie."
The filibustering senators have characterized some of the federal funded projects as pork projects.However, a lot of good is being done with federal stimulus funds that, among other functions, help low-income families weatherize their homes, provide regulatory assistance to the Missouri Public Service Commission and more resources for rural law enforcement. I suppose it is a good thing the Missouri Senate voted to extend unemployment benefits becaues if job-creating projects are killed, there will be even more people in the unemployment lines. This is the last thing Missouri needs!
I urge you to please contact your local senator and representative and let them know federal funding for HB18 is putting the interests of their constituents first. You can visit this website to find their contact information.
Susan DeVries lives in Boonville.