All Missourians took some hits from the recent session of the Missouri General Assembly. One that affects most Franklin Countians is failure of the transportation legislation.
To deny Missourians the opportunity to vote on a 1-cent sales tax for transportation was, to put it clear and simply, WRONG.
To say it was a tax increase imposed on people is the weakest of arguments, senseless, or to say voters would look at it that way, is a cop-out by legislators who oppose it. Those feelings personify members of the General Assembly who are chiefly concerned about themselves, retaining their seats.
State Reps. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, and Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, worked for passage of the bill to give voters the opportunity to vote on the tax. Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific and Union, did not support the legislation. Curtman, whose district takes in the east part of Washington, told The Missourian he wanted to see if other cuts to the state budget could be made before asking voters to approve a new tax. That’s a cop-out. Who does he represent? Certainly not the voters of Franklin County!
The only hope we have of getting a four-lane Highway 47 from Washington to St. Clair is through additional funding for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT).
Does Curtman understand that? Why would he deny Franklin County voters the chance to vote on a transportation tax? Earlier, he told The Missourian he wanted to see other cuts and then use that money for transportation. He suggested that funds for economic development be cut, since he claims the state hasn’t produced much from the money spent on economic development.
Where has Curtman been living? Part of his district, as mentioned, includes Washington. The city of Washington has received great help from the state for new and expanding industries. Without state help, we would not have had the funds for much of the infrastructure for developing the Heidmann Industrial Park and other parks. Isn’t Curtman aware of this? What does he know about industrial development and the part the state has played in it? Apparently, nothing!
To cut funds for economic development is an anti-jobs position by Curtman.
We elect people like a Curtman because qualified candidates simply do not come forward and throw their hats into the political ring. Often voters don’t have much of a choice when voting for candidates. Citizens need to pay closer attention to the people they vote for as to their qualifications.
For now we have lost an opportunity to vote on a tax for transportation. There is little or no hope for funding in the near future for a four-lane Highway 47 from Washington to St. Clair. We thank Hinson and Schatz for their efforts for transportation. On this issue, they are tuned into reality.