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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Rep. Fitzpatrick on state budgets and angst over St. Louis stadium

State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick
Tim Bommel I House Communications
State Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick to the program for the first time.

Fitzpatrick is a native of Shell Knob, a Barry County community that’s about 40 miles away from Branson.

He started a dock repair business while he was in high school, a company that grew dramatically while he was in college. After state Rep. David Sater termed out of the Missouri House, Fitzpatrick prevailed in a contested Republican primary for his seat – the real contest in the heavily Republican district.

After entering the legislature when he was 25, Fitzpatrick was appointed to the powerful House Budget Committee. He was named as vice chairman of that committee, which is usually a stepping-stone to becoming chairman. He’s also handled several big-ticket bills, including one that restricted unemployment benefits and another involving the state’s A+ program.

Here’s what Fitzpatrick had to say during the show:

  • Fitzpatrick has long been interested in finance and budgeting. When he was in college, Fitzpatrick would go on Yahoo Finance to look at companies’ balance sheets and income statements. “Being in a position to actually have some impact on that size of an enterprise – that being Missouri’s state government – I found intriguing,” he said.
  • It will ultimately be up to House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, on who becomes the next chairman of the House Budget Committee. Besides Fitzpatrick, state Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville, has expressed interested in taking that committee’s gavel. (Haefner recently pulled the plug on a state Senate bid and is instead running for re-election for her House seat.)
  • While he said it’s important to adequately fund higher education, Fitzpatrick says Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposal to boost funding to colleges and universities by roughly $55 million may be premature. “I think it’s way too early in the fiscal year right now to tell what our ability is going to be,” he said.
  • He wasn’t surprised an override attempt of the “right to work” veto failed. Like other Republicans, Fitzpatrick said it would likely require a GOP governor to get that policy over the finish line.
  • There’s strong opposition in the Missouri General Assembly to issuing bonds for a St. Louis football stadium without a legislative or statewide vote. If Gov. Jay Nixon issues those bonds without legislative or popular approval, Fitzpatrick says he won’t support appropriating state money to pay them off.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Scott Fitzpatrick on Twitter: @FitzpatrickMO

Music: “Blue Monday” by New Order

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