Saturday, February 7, 2009

One-time funding for one-time expenses

By Rep. Dan Brown
District 149

During the State of the State address, the Governor proposed using funds to not only balance the budget, but to expand Missouri’s welfare programs and add thousands of people to the State’s payroll. The House Majority does not agree with the Governor’s plan. Using one-time funds to feed and expand an ongoing program is not wise use of dollars. It simply isn’t fiscally responsible and it isn’t a good use of your tax dollars.

I believe that one-time funding should be used for one-time expenses that won’t demand continuous funding in the coming years. We have talked about several ways to use the money that would most benefit our citizens and put Missourians back to work immediately.

These are your tax dollars and we want to give some of it back to you. We think a tax rebate would be a wise way to spend a portion of the funds. This would help put money directly back into your pocket. We understand that you know better than anyone where you must spend to accommodate family needs and this would allow you that freedom.

We would also like to use a portion of the funds for one-time projects such as building roads, bridges and other infrastructure needs. First and foremost, this will create jobs. Large infrastructure projects create construction jobs that will employ hundreds of Missourians. In addition, investing in infrastructure may also attract new businesses to Missouri. A company is more likely to start a business, relocate to our State or expand if we take steps to add to our infrastructure needs.

Finally, we would like to see some of federal tax money set aside for funding of the Interoperability Contract with Motorola. This system would allow local and state first-responders to be able to communicate with each other regardless of distance or department. For instance, a police officer in Southeast Missouri could use the system to contact a fireman in another jurisdiction. Our current system does not allow for this and when emergency and disaster strikes, our emergency personnel have very limited capabilities when trying to contact one another.

You elected me to make fiscally responsible decisions that best benefit you and your families. I will fight to ensure the one-time stimulus funds are used for one-time projects. Using the federal stimulus money to expand our welfare programs and our State’s budget will only put us in the horrific financial situations of past administrations. We have worked tirelessly to prevent this in the past four years and will continue to do so in the future.

I have received a lot of emails concerning the Governor’s proposed cuts (as much as 50 percent) to the University Extension Programs. As Representative of the 149th District, I feel extension programs and specifically the 4-H Program are vital to our area youth. The Master Gardener’s Program is especially important at a time when learning to provide for our families is center stage. I am against such deep cuts and will work to prevent them from happening.

Again, thank you for your concerns. This is your State government. Help me keep it that way by keeping me informed. Please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at dan.brown@house.mo.gov.

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