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Downsizing State Government Tour Ends At Mo. Capitol

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio
The Mo. House Interim Committee on Downsizing State Government holds its final hearing at the Mo. Capitol on July 18, 2013.

A Missouri House committee looking at ways to downsize state government wrapped up its three-day tour across the state with three meetings Thursday, in St. Joseph, Columbia, and at the State Capitol in Jefferson City.

Much of the testimony centered on the same themes at each stop, including a push by fiscal conservatives to override Governor Jay Nixon's (D) veto of the controversial tax cut bill (House Bill 253).  Alexander Curchin is General Counsel-Governmental Affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

"The inclination of government bureaucracy is to spend every nickel appropriated so that future budgets meet or exceed current ones," Curchin said.  "There is largely no incentive to cut spending when budgets are overbalanced at the end of the fiscal year, and House Bill 253 directly reduces the percentage of government spending relative to the (Gross Domestic Product)."

Other people testified in favor of reducing government regulations for small business owners, decriminalizing marijuana use, scrapping the state income tax in favor of an expanded sales tax, and removing games from computers used by state workers.  Committee chairman Paul Curtman (R, Pacific) says they'll take all the comments they heard this week and use those to recommend bills for next year's legislative session.

"One of the things we might look at," Curtman said, "we had a really good suggestion (from) a guy who said, 'I don’t know if Missouri has one of these measuring devises to measure the cost effectiveness of money after it's been appropriated, but maybe we need a formula to see whether or not the benefit outweighs the cost, or vice-versa.'"

Curtman says an early draft of recommendations could be ready as soon as next week.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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