On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Justin Alferman back to the program.
The Hermann Republican represents Missouri's the 61st House District, which takes in portions of Gasconade, Franklin and Osage counties. Alferman is vice chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, which is in charge of shaping the state’s spending priorities every year.
Lawmakers faced an especially tight budget this year, which required substantial cuts to higher education institutions and programs. But arguably the most contentious budgetary fight was over cuts to in-home care for low-income residents. Gov. Eric Greitens ended up vetoing a plan shifting unused money from state boards and commissions to allow roughly 8,000 people to retain their care.
Ultimately, lawmakers declined to override Greitens’ veto of the in-home care cuts. But lawmakers including House Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, promised to come up with an alternative plan.
- He said any proposal to restore in-home care cuts would likely require paring down a property tax credit known as the circuit breaker. House Republicans unsuccessfully sought to bar renters from taking advantage of the tax break.
- Alferman said that there may be a decision on whether to call a special session for in-home care cuts in the next several days. “I don’t believe the governor wants to call a special session unless we already have the legwork done and a general agreement of what we’re going to be settling on whenever we go back into special session,” he said.
- He said he understands why people around St. Louis are upset over the acquittal of former police officer Jason Stockley on a charge of first-degree murder in the shooting death of suspect Anthony Lamar Smith. But Alferman said that protesters need to be more clear about what lawmakers should do from a public policy standpoint. “I don’t know what it is that they want,” he said. “And if that is not being communicated to someone in an adjacent county, it’s certainly going to fall on deaf ears to somebody from Lawrence County or southwest Missouri.”
- Alferman said that Republicans may take a look at placing donation limits on municipal and county candidates. A recently-passed constitutional amendment only placed curbs on statewide, state legislative and judicial offices, which allows people like St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger to get donations of unlimited size.
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Follow Justin Alferman on Twitter: @justinalf
Music: “I Won’t Let You Down” by OK GO