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Missouri Government News for Week of May 10, 1999

Lawmakers pass tax cuts on their last day.

Missouri lawmakers finished their 1999 legislative session passing a package of tax cuts totally more than $200 million per year.

Although voting for the proposals, GOP leaders said it was too small. The governor, on the other hand, said the total package may be too large and that he may veto some of the tax-cut bills.

Also on their last day, lawmakers passed a measure that would double both driving license and auto registration periods. Driving licenses would be extended to six years and auto registration (along with safety inspections) would be required only every other year.

Boeing layoff prompts last-minute funding bill

The state legislature approved $20 million in emergency funds to help laid-off Boeing workers and others start small businesses. The emergency measure was attached to a funding bill that lawmakers say never would have passed had Boeing not announced this week it was laying off 7,000 people at its St. Louis plant. Governor Carnahan has said he will sign the funding plan; he cited it as one of the legislature's major achievements this session.

See our radio story for details.

Senator Ken Jacob prominent in key battles

On the wave of his prominence in the legislative session's two biggest battles, Sentor Ken Jacob evolves into a major player in the Missouri Senate. He carried the governor's torch on tax cuts in the Senate and tried to filibuster the partial-birth abortion ban.

A tax compromise is reached for the final day of the legislative session.

All the key sides reached agreement Thursday on a tax-cut plan to present to the House and Senate for a final vote on the final day of the 1999 legislative session.

The governor's office said it was fine with them, although higher than he had recommended.

The Senate GOP leader said he would support the plan, although smaller than he had recommended.

In other legislative action Thursday,

See our newspaper story for more details.

Carnahan to veto pension increase for lawmakers and other state employees.

Gov. Carnahan announced he will veto a bill that would have given a pension increase to state employees, including lawmakers. The announcement came as a surprise to legislators, especially Democrats who overwhelmingly supported the increase.

Carnahan's attack triggered an immediate counter-attack by some Democrats who charge the govenror was just trying to bolster his campaign for the U.S. Senate.

In other legislative action Tuesday, the Senate completed action on its version of the tax-cut bill after defeating an effort to provide tax credits for the costs to parents of sending their kids to private or parochical schools.

In his special message to the legislature on pensions, he also had something dramatic to say about the tax bill. He warned legislators that if they approve more than he thinks the state can afford, he would veto the bill and call the legislature immediately back for a special session on tax cuts.

Also Wednesday, the House tacked an amendment to the Senate crime bill that would add gays, and the disabled to the state's hate crime law.

The Senate gave final approval to the conference committee version of a measure to let persons above age 20 to ride motorcycles without helmets.

For more information, see:

Lawmakers Feather Their Nest - Delay Tax Relief

Lawmakers upgraded their pension packages - and those of other state workers - shortly after delaying action on a tax relief package. Also, a bill to define "living infant" - and bans some types of abortion - now awaits the Governor's promised veto.

Meanwhile, the Senate continued to stall on the session's tax-cut package.

For more information, see:

Tax cuts stall in the Missouri Senate on the first day of the last week of the session.

A House-passed tax cut bill was inflated by the Senate to what even GOP lawmakers say is too large for the state.

More than two-dozen separate amendments were tacked on to the bill before the leadership put the bill aside to allow tempers to cool.

Democratic leaders said it was possible they might not be able to get a tax-cut pass. Republicans charged Democrats were staging a game to block serious consideration of a tax-cut plan larger than the governor wants.

In the House, lawmakers approved a Senate-passed bill to allow local government to use the property tax to protect the resale value of homes.

For more information, see: