Missouri Special Session a "Fiasco" Costing Taxpayers Nearly $300,000

5 years 4 months 2 days ago October 26, 2011 Oct 26, 2011 Wednesday, October 26 2011 Wednesday, October 26, 2011 5:46:00 AM CDT in News
By: Matt Evans
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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri special legislative session will end up costing Missouri taxpayers nearly $300,000 that wasn't originally in the state budget.  Most of that tab comes from reimbursement for travel and the $104 per working day salary of Missouri lawmakers.

Although the session isn't officially over until November 5, the Senate adjourned for good Tuesday and House Speaker Steve Tilley said there's no reason for the House to meet again either.

The House and Senate could only come together on two bills.  One was the Missouri Science and Reinvestment act, or MOSIRA, which is designed to bring more jobs and funding to high-tech Missouri companies. The other was the "Facebook fix," which replaced the already existing law on student-teacher online communications.

MOSIRA may not even be legal because of a contingency clause stating it was only effective if a broader bill passed.  That broader bill - the priority of the session - didn't pass.

The major jobs bills is the reason the session was called.  Since the spring, lawmakers have been working on the bill that includes reducing Missouri's existing tax credits, but would have added tax incentives for a China Hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, amateur sports events, computer data centers and other businesses. Just like in the regular session, the House and Senate couldn't reach an agreement on the bill.

Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, said the biggest reason the chambers were "miles apart" is the sunsets on tax credits.

"The crux of the problem or the issue is sunsets and seven-year sunsets," Mayer said.

The House didn't want sunsets because it said they gave one Senator too much power to kill a tax credit single-handedly.  Senate leadership has said for more than a month a bill with no sunsets is "dead on arrival" in the Senate.

Several lawmakers have deemed the special session a failure and one is even calling it a "fiasco."  House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, released this statement after the Senate adjourned:

"This fiasco will go down in Missouri Capitol Lore as the Lost Legislative Session.  The Republican-controlled General Assembly lost yet another chance to address the most important issue facing the state. Missouri taxpayers lost more than a quarter million dollars on a do-nothing special session.  And GOP legislative leaders have lost their credibility."

Senate and House leadership both say they hope to re-visit and pass a similar bill during the regular legislative session that starts in January.

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