Politically Speaking: Sen. Bill Eigel wants lawmakers thinking differently on transportation
On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum welcomes Sen. Bill Eigel back to the program.
The St. Charles County Republican is serving his first year in the chamber, and represents the eastern and central parts of St. Charles County, which has been growing at a fast clip.
Eigel is an Air Force veteran and used to own St. Louis Skylights. He was stationed in Turkmenistan during the war in Afghanistan, which gave him some insight about state politics. During last year’s election cycle, he won an expensive three-way Republican primary and went onto defeat Democrat Richard Orr.
Since entering the Senate, Eigel has been advocating for more transportation spending — but not necessarily raising taxes to do that. He’s also spoken out in favor of expanding charter schools, a proposal that’s stoked some dissension within the GOP caucus.
At the time Eigel recorded this show Wednesday, the Senate had spent all night debating a bid to cut a property tax break for seniors. Some Republicans want to take away the “circuit breaker” tax credit for renters, but that was substantially opposed by Democrats.
Here’s what Eigel had to say during the show:
Lawmakers have debated over the past few years raising the state’s sales tax or boosting the gas tax to help Missouri’s roads. Eigel would rather take existing money going to other programs and send it to transportation.
While that’s unlikely to pass this session, he said lawmakers need to think beyond tax increases that require voter approval. “The people of Missouri wanted us to come down to Jefferson City and do business in a different manner,” he said. “Trying to solve the transportation problem by creating toll roads or increasing taxes is precisely the example of doing business in the old manner.”
Lawmakers are haggling out the details of legislation that would set up a prescription drug database. Missouri is the only state in the nation without one. Eigel said he’d be willing to filibuster legislation if lawmakers remove some provisions, including one purging a patient’s data after six months. He also said he’s not sure a prescription drug database would effectively combat opioid abuse, adding he’s worried about potential invasions of privacy. “I don’t know of a government database that’s truly invulnerable to being hacked,” he said.
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Bill Eigel on Twitter: @BillEigel
Music: “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine” by The Killers