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Mo. GOP pledges to back traditional values

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Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
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(l-r) Mo. Senate Pres. Pro-tem Charlie Shields (R, St. Joseph), Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder (R), House Speaker Ron Richard (R, Joplin).

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – Republican leaders in the Missouri House and Senate returned to their party's traditional themes, after talking up ethics and the economy on the legislature's opening day last week.

Led by Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, GOP leaders pledged first and foremost not to raise taxes this year.

"Taking more money from Missouri families is not a sensible solution to fix whatever budget problems we face today," Kinder said.

Kinder also said the GOP would vigorously defend the lives of the unborn and protect 2nd Amendment rights. Other Republican leaders voiced opposition to federal health care and energy legislation in Congress.

But there were indications that other issues could divide Republicans in Jefferson City, particularly a proposal to replace the state's income tax with an expanded sales tax.

House Speaker Ron Richard (R, Joplin) appeared to back away from the resolution during the GOP's press conference today.

"We'll see if it has the muster there is...questions about that initiative that...uhm...we'll just have to see if there's still a certain level (of support)...I'm not going to start that (debate) this year in the House...we'll see if the Senate has an appetite for that," Richard said.

There's also the potential for conflict over economic development legislation. One bill would provide incentives to draw high-tech jobs to Missouri, and that could include companies involved in stem cell research.

Richard says they'll take whatever steps are necessary to protect the interests of pro-life voters.

Meanwhile, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has also pledged not to raise taxes and is touting various job creation proposals.

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