The function of creating a budget in the legislative process is one of the most important jobs that a legislator has. In Missouri, we budget and spend approximately $24 billion of taxpayer money – and it is vital that we never forget that it is taxpayer money. Your money.
As Chairman of the Budget Committee in the Missouri House of Representatives, I was charged with bringing all of the diverse and competing interests together to create the best budget possible. While we weren’t always able to fund everything that everybody wanted, I feel confident that we made sound decisions and did the best with what we had. My colleagues, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike, have praised me for my commitment and ability to accomplish this task in a bi-partisan and reasonable manor.
I am proud of the fact that, with the help of other legislators, I was able to balance Missouri’s budget – and to do so WITHOUT A TAX INCREASE!
I view the budget responsibility as a sacred trust that has been given to legislators to protect and wisely utilize our hard-earned dollars. As our State Senator, I will continue to pressure other legislators to view taxes in this same manner.
I believe that government exists to serve the people and not the other way around.
Too many politicians apparently believe that the average citizen is on this earth to support – and pay for – whatever the politicians want government to do. Such an approach goes against everything upon which our country was founded.
I agree with the general philosophy espoused by President Lincoln which holds that government should do only those things that the people want and need and cannot provide for themselves. And when government does undertake a task, it should perform that task competently and efficiently. These are not things that government is typically known for accomplishing.
I also believe that we deserve a government that works – and whose leaders work to find solutions to serious problems and not just fight all the time. With each passing year, it seems that the rhetoric from politicians becomes more and more partisan and strident. This rhetoric seems to invade every aspect of our government. While there are certainly times to fight for positions that are considered partisan, there are many times (probably most of the time) when common goals can be met by people working together instead of yelling at each other. My time in the Missouri House of Representatives evidences my ability and willingness to bring people of different political parties together to accomplish these goals.
We are an independent, imaginative and innovative people and our parents, grandparents and great grandparents built the greatest nation on earth because of this. But today, it seems that every time you turn around, government is taking steps to severely limit independence and completely stifle imagination and innovation. Greatness remains ours if we can get government out of the way of the natural tendencies of Americans. I am committed to attempting to move government in this direction.
Maintaining law and order is vital to the well-being of any civilization.
I have long been a supporter of, and advocate for, law enforcement, which is evidenced by my being endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police as well as the State Council of Firefighters. I believe that highly trained, highly motivated and well paid law enforcement officers, along with vigilant, concerned citizens, is key to public safety.
We must provide the resources necessary to allow all citizens to feel safe in their homes and communities. Part of this process is prioritizing how tax dollars are spent. In Missouri and throughout the country, we have more people in prison than at any time in history. We must make sure that violent criminals and predators remain behind bars so they cannot prey upon law-abiding citizens. At the same time, we should look to alternatives to prison for non-violent offenders who are not a threat to society.
We have the right to expect that our laws will be enforced. If someone steals from us, they should be charged with that crime. If someone hits us, they should be charged with assault. We have always been a nation guided by the rule of law. We should not change that for the purpose of political expediency.
Often it seems that the criminals have all the rights. I believe that victims should have rights as well. We should do everything we can to make sure that judges, prosecutors and police keep victims informed about what’s going on in a case. These same people must make sure that the victims have opportunities to be heard at trial and sentencing; but also in any plea bargaining and parole proceedings. It is way past time to put the “justice” back into our court system.
One major lesson from both the Kennedy and Reagan years is that when tax rates are at their lowest, the private sector invests in new or expanding businesses, creating new jobs. As elected officials, we can influence the economy in a positive way by either reducing taxes or at least making sure that taxes are not raised. During these bad economic years, the federal government and many local governments have chosen to raise taxes – exactly the opposite of what should be occurring.
I am proud of the fact that during my years as State Representative I have voted consistently to balance the budget WITHOUT INCREASING TAXES.
Hand in hand with the issue of tax rates is the issue of out-of-control government spending. The problem is not that government takes in too little of our money in taxes; the problem is that government spends too much. I remain steadfastly committed to making sure that Missouri State government lives within its means without a tax increase.