Major issues still on tap in Jefferson City
By St. Louis Public Radio
St. Louis – Tax credit reforms and the last pieces of Missouri's 2011 budget are on the agenda in Jefferson City this week as lawmakers get ready to adjourn on Friday.
According to local news reports, Gov. Jay Nixon continues to meet privately with lawmakers in an effort to reach some agreement on changes to the credits, which the state uses for economic development. Republicans are resisting Nixon's call for a cap on credits - he says their rapid growth is putting education funding at risk. Both sides, though, are looking for ways to get up-front cash to companies looking to locate here.
Further budget cuts will be necessary if lawmakers do not pass a series of measures to reduce the size of government. One would combine the state Highway and Water patrols, another combines the state departments of education. Lawmakers also want to make changes to the governance of Missouri's pension systems.
And legislators also want to finish up a bill that would mandate some insurance coverage for a treatment for children with autism. Senate president pro tem Charlie Shields told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he believes an autism coverage bill will pass by the constitutionally-mandated deadline of 6 p.m
Reforms to the state's drunken driving laws remain stalled over concerns about cost, and a measure that would allow blood to be drawn without a warrant if a driver refuses a Breathalyzer.