Pierre Reports: Exemptions hot topic

I believe it was last Sunday, when I was still licking wounds from Saturday�s cracker-barrel, that I realized I had not sent in my weekly news letter.  Time just kind of flew by!  As for the cracker barrel, the theme was certainly education. Some points were brought up about Medicaid cuts, but education took the stage.  Solutions from that event included proposal of sales taxes, license fee increases for counties, booze taxes, and eliminating some of the exemptions in state government. 

Exemptions are a big issue since they amount to around $480 million the state does not collect.  Some items excluded from sales taxes are grain, seed, fertilizer, etc�  Needless to say the agriculture people are not too excited about eliminating those exemptions.  The Legislature�s budget will be getting close to complete in the next week or two as they finish up hearings with the remaining state agencies.

One point that I made in my article two weeks ago was corrected by Dr. Raymond Ring from the university. I mistakenly stated that the corn grower association, medical association, and other association dollars were managed in the state�s cash portfolio which contains $935 million.  To clarify, it should have been written that that fund manages the corn check off dollars, licensure dues that support the medical association, nurses association and many other political sub-funds.  It also includes cities/counties sales/use taxes until they are ready to spend them to cover their expenses.  Sorry for any confusion this may have created, but it still stands that the corn growers and other professionals would not want their dollars which were put in for a specific purpose to be taken or used for any other reason.

We have now completed our longest week thus far in terms of debating bills and other issues in the House of Representatives.  It is pretty typical that this is about the time during session when the more controversial bills start to come forward and get the media attention.  Many have come and gone as would be expected such as the mandatory gun bill (HB 1237) that would have required all citizens to own a gun by age 21. The point with this bill was to mock and show the comparison with the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care act that Congress passed and President Obama signed which was also forced upon everyone.  Sure stirred up some reactions!

Another one was HB 1171 which was hoghoused/amended in committee, which allowed a person to basically use deadly force if they felt severe injury or death could result to an unborn baby.  I truly believe the intent by the sponsor was just that and not directed at any person or abortion doctor.  Some believed that it would permit someone to legally kill anyone assisting in a legal abortion procedure. However, after reading the language again, it�s easy to see how it could be taken in the wrong way and boy did it! The sponsor certainly received national attention from the whole incident and again from listening to the committee discussion, I do not believe that was his intent.

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