Missourians want their government to use their hard-earned tax dollars wisely, especially during these tough economic times. This week, the Missouri House moved to implement the first pillar of our Blueprint for Missouri by passing three bills out of committee that protect taxpayers.
Taxpayers provide the resources of state government, and, without them, we wouldn’t have the resources to provide vital services like roads and bridges. For this reason, we have moved to protect taxpayers by passing three bills that increase transparency at the local level and limit the size of government.
As Thomas Jefferson once said, “An informed citizenry is the only true repository of the public will.” But, information about your government must be readily available so you can make the right decision. HB 1140 is an effort to provide taxpayers with the information needed to make informed decisions about government.
Currently, information about state spending is available online at the Missouri Accountability Portal. HB 1140 requires counties and schools to submit their debts and holdings to the Office of Administration for posting on the portal. This gives taxpayers a one stop shop for tracking how their state and local tax dollars are being spent, expanding the information available to them.
HB 1135 improves transparency by requiring the review of administrative rules. Over time, department rules become outdated or obsolete. By requiring these rules to be reviewed periodically, we can ensure that all agency rules are efficient and effective.
Under current law, rules can stay on the books of a state agency indefinitely. HB 1135 also requires all administrative rules to sunset after 10 years. By including the sunset provision, all rules will have to venture through the public comment process periodically, giving citizens a say in how our executive departments run.
Part of our effort to protect taxpayers includes limiting the size and scope of government. That is the idea behind HJR 43, the Taxpayer Protection Act, which passed out of the Budget Committee this week.
When times are good and the budget is flush with money, past legislatures have used any excess revenue to increase government spending. The Taxpayer Protection Act limits growth by tying any increase in the budget to population growth plus the rate of inflation. Any money left over after the adjustment is saved for times when the budget is short.
We are working hard to pass legislation protecting you, the taxpayer. By increasing transparency and limiting the size of government, you will be better equipped to track your tax dollars.
This report is filed at the end of each week during the legislative session. This report was filed at the close of business last week.