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Rep. Tilley releases survey results

Admittedly the simplest way to learn what people think is to ask them, and that’s what 106th District State Representative Dr. Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, did with a recent survey. Now the survey results are back in.

Rep. Tilley spoke this week about the findings of his district survey. While every state representative has the option of conducting a survey, not everyone does. But Tilley says he is pleased with how the sampling of constituents went.

Responses have neared 700 now, with only about 100 responses needed from the 106th district to be considered an acceptable and accurate survey. Each registered vote in the district was sent a survey. Tilley said the response has been &#8220phenomenal”.

In looking at the results, the overwhelming fact from the responses is that 106th district voters want no tax increases. A total of 71.5 percent said they did not favor an increase in state income taxes to support additional spending for education and healthcare. Some 77.91 percent opposed increasing income taxes to provide funding for Medicaid services. More than 67 percent were against increasing sales taxes to help fund Medicaid services.

&#8220One thing I think you can take from this survey is that people in my district don’t support tax increases,” Tilley said.

The two taxes voters were in favor of increasing were an increased tax on casinos and cigarettes to providing funding for Medicaid services. On that questions, 77.23 percent said to increase taxes on casinos, while 65.94 were in favor of higher taxes on cigarettes if the money was to be used for Medicaid services.

&#8220This survey gives a good feel of the direction people would like to see me take,” Tilley said in discussing the tax concerns of residents.

Another issue that voters were admittedly in favor of making a change in was the increasing of minimum sentences and monitoring requirements for convicted sex offenders. A total of 87.86 percent were in favor of upgrading the laws and penalties governing pedophiles and sex offenders. Tilley has already started work to be the lead sponsor on a bill in the House this session to improve laws governing child sex abuse. It’s a matter that has Gov. Matt Blunt’s full support.

While a legislator’s job is to be the voice of his constituents at the capitol, Rep. Tilley makes it clear that he is pro-life. He was pleased to see that most constituents felt much the same way he did when asked about stem cell research.

&#8220I’ve always been pro-life, and would continue to be regardless of the survey. But 60.20 percent of the people said they consider themselves pro-life,” Tilley explained.

To the question of, &#8220Do you support adult stem cell research if it could lead to cures for diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s?, the response was 79.60 percent in favor, 12.65 percent opposed, and 7.75 percent saying they had no opinion or failing to answer the question.

When asked if they support embryonic stem cell research if it could lead to cures for diseases, nearly half (49.58 percent) said yes, while 41.65 percent said no and the remainder were either undecided of did not answer the question.

Tilley says the stem cell issue will be a major topic of debate during the upcoming legislative session. He’s glad he can take the feelings of his voters to Jefferson City and present them when the time comes.

So how did Tilley’s performance on the job rank among voters? A total of 89.52 percent said they approved of the job the legislator was doing in Jefferson City. Only 10.48 percent disapproved of his work, with only 3.13 percent strongly disapproving of his efforts.

The survey ended with a topic which will be another hot button issue when the legislature reconvenes in January. The final two questions dealt with &#8220eminent domain”. In a recent Supreme Court decision, Kelo v. New London, the 5-4 majority ruled that local governments could use the power of eminent domain to seize privately-owned homes so that private commercial development could generate jobs and greater tax revenue.

A whopping 93.25 percent of voters responding to the survey said they did not agree with the Supreme Court’s decision. An almost identical 92.58 percent were in favor of the Missouri legislature imposing restrictions that would prohibit the use of eminent domain for private development purposes.

Tilley says he’s looking forward to the holidays with family and has enjoyed the legislative break and a chance to spend time with friends, family and his business, but he’s also looking forward to getting back to Jefferson City. He says he’s anticipating working with 3rd District Sen. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, on several matters in the coming year.

&#8220Our state’s economy is growing and employment is climbing at the highest rate since Sept. 11, 2001. Our budget process should be better this next year, and I’m pleased with the progress we’re making on becoming a business-friendly state.”

Tilley ended the interview by wishing all the district’s residents a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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