On this week's episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Sen. John Lamping, R-Ladue, to the show.
Lamping decided not to run for another term this fall as the state senator representing the 24th District. But he has plenty to say about his four years in the General Assembly's upper chamber. During that time, he gained a reputation, and some enemies, over his willingness to buck his own party -- especially on fiscal issues.
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Lamping offered broad observations of how state government operates. Among other things, he said:
- The General Assembly is increasingly made up of young people in their 20s and 30s seeking to create a political future and retirees in the closing years of their careers. If the legislative session was shorter, "a different caliber of people would run,'' he said.
- Some business groups are guilty of "cronyism,'' in his opinion, because they pressed for income tax cuts while also embracing the proposed sales-tax hike for transportation. Lamping opposes the transportation tax.
- Government policy is crafted by "100 to 200 people,'' who are mainly lobbyists, business leaders, unions, teacher groups and trial lawyers.
- Republican legislators have failed the state on fiscal issues, by pressing for tax cuts -- which he backed -- but then approving more state spending, particularly via tax credits and tax breaks.
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Sen. Lamping on Twitter: @JohnLamping