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Dugger Report 3.1.12

Sometimes it easy to become overwhelmed by complexity of the problems we face on a day-to-day basis. It seems as if every day the prices on the items we use the most continue to rise with seemingly no relief is sight. Missourians from all across this great state are struggling, just as the state is struggling to make ends meet.  Yet, in during these difficult times it is of the utmost importance that the state not pass along the burden to the people who are equally hurting. During tough economic times, the last thing Missourians need is a tax increase.

Every two years, the governor’s State Tax Commission is required to review the value for each grade of agricultural and horticultural land based on its productivity. Late last year, the commission released its report recommending a tax increase on the top four grades of agricultural land. The land affected accounts for 35 percent of the total farmland in the state and is some of the most fertile, productive farmland in the country.

Thankfully, the General Assembly has the ability to disapprove of the tax increase by passing a resolution in both chambers. This week, the Missouri House kept our promise to fight against any tax increase by passing House Concurrent Resolution 8, a measure disapproving of the Nixon administration’s recommendations.

Land is a fundamental asset of every farming operation in the state. Without the very fertile soil found beneath us, we wouldn’t have many of the foods we enjoy on a daily basis. If something happens to this rich, agricultural asset, it doesn’t only limit the production of food, but the farmer’s bottom line as well. Here in the House, it is our goal to keep our farmers as profitable as possible.

Farming is the backbone of our rural culture and economy. This business sector accounts for roughly a third of all economic activity in the state. Protecting our farmers from higher taxes will help farmers get through these difficult times. Placing a heavier burden on one of the most vital sectors of Missouri’s economy is not the kind of answer we need.

While we try and wade through the murky waters of the current economic downturn we must not lose sight of the values upon which this state and country were founded.  This week the Missouri House passed legislation opposing the Obama administration mandate that all employers provide insurance coverage for birth control.  House Concurrent Resolution 41, passed by the House, voices concerns that even religious institutions must provide insurance coverage for contraception, even though it goes against their beliefs.  It is not the position of the government to mandate the operations of religious institutions, and such flagrant interference should not be allowed to occur.

The Missouri House also moved forward with House Bill 1186 & 1147.  Both bills, which were combined, require that the written test given to individuals obtaining their driver’s license to be administered in English only.  Currently, the test is offered in numerous languages, depending on the preference of the individual taking the test.  Not only will this measure save the state money, but it will ensure that all Missouri drivers are able to read and comprehend the signs and instructions posted alongside Missouri’s roadways.

Just as it is important to protect Missouri’s agriculture industry and values, it is also important to acknowledge organizations that play an important role in Missouri’s history and economy.  In 2002, the Missouri fox trotting horse became Missouri’s official state horse.  Long before this designation, the fox trotter was essential to the development of the Ozark region of Missouri.  Throughout the years the Missouri fox trotter has gained popularity worldwide, and gained Ava, Missouri the designation of the “the heart of Fox trotting Country.”

This year I am proud to be carrying House Bill 1107, which designates a State Highway 5 between Ava and Mansfield as the “Missouri Fox Trotting Highway.”

Ava is home to the national headquarters of the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA).  Since, it founding in 1948,  the MFTHBA has tirelessly worked to promote the Fox Trotter and has been an integral part of our Ozark region community.  HB 1107 was passed this week by the House and I look forward to pushing it through the rest of the legislative process, so that this well-deserved acknowledgment can become reality.

I am currently running an online legislative survey. This survey includes many of the key issues we are addressing during the current legislative session in Jefferson City and I would greatly appreciate your input on these important issues.

Simply click on the following link, SURVEY, enter your name and address, and fill out the survey. Thank you in advance for your time and input.

For more information about the bills mentioned above or about any others that have been introduced please visit the House of Representatives website, As always, it is an honor to serve you in the Missouri House of Representatives.