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Missouri Republican House Speaker Tim Jones was in Springfield Tuesday. He met with constituents at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center and spoke about his agenda for the upcoming legislative session, which he nicknamed the “Triple E.” KSMU’s Samuel Crowe has this report.
The first “E” Jones mentioned was economic development for job creation. Jones says he opposes Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s decision to expand Medicaid while sacrificing funding for education in the state. He also says Congress will look at tax credits and incentives, for which he says there is a more pragmatic and balanced approach.
“We don’t have to get rid of every single tax program out there. We don’t have to legislate into existence every new proposal. I think there’s a balance between that, I call it ‘Cut, cap, and create.’ Eliminate programs that aren’t working anymore, cap programs for budget certainty, create new incentives,” Jones said.
The second “E” in Jones’ agenda is a strong energy policy for Missouri’s energy independent future. He says it’s in Missouri’s best interest to invest in small modular nuclear reactor technology, and manufacture and export reactors around the world. He also talked about Missouri’s need for better infrastructure.
“Our regulatory system needs to be brought up to date, streamlined, made more efficient. We have a lot of infrastructure in this state that’s well over a hundred years old – from our water to our gas lines, and so on and so forth,” Jones said.
The third “E” in Jones’ legislative session agenda is education reform and funding. He highlighted the importance of facilitating good policies that help encourage parental involvement in a child’s education. He also described the importance of local autonomy in deciding a school district’s core curriculum. And while Jones recognized that public funding is important, from grammar school to colleges and universities, he says that money is not the solution to all problems. He says the state needs to honest about its educational system.
“Teachers should not be hammered by unfair labor contracts that prevent the best and brightest teachers from being rewarded. And students should not be punished by having poor teachers continue to be elevated and moved along in the system simply because they exist under some antiquated merit system. I think competition in the free market should be in our public education system, just like every other walk of life,” Jones said.
Jones continued his speaker tour at the Springfield Chamber of Commerce, and then finished in Lebanon Tuesday evening. The legislative session begins January 9.
For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe