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Photo of David Pearce from ony of his numerous 2008 campaign mailings. He never did change that tie.

David Pearce (r – advocate of automotive deer hunting), newly minted senator representing the 31st District, is shocked, I tell you, shocked, that the money for capital building projects at universities appropriated by raiding the resources of MOHELA isn’t really there.

1/29/2009 11:49:00 AM

Red ink could sink UCM renovations

Jack Miles

Editor

…Pearce said the news came “as a total shock,” but he has a clear idea where to go from here.

“Obviously, where I go is to try to convince the governor it was a bad decision,” he said…

Uh, the bad decision was the one you made when you voted to gut MOHELA as a back bencher in the House despite the warnings from then Attorney General Jay Nixon and the Democratic minority in the General Assembly:

Attorney General Jay Nixon’s Statement on MOHELA’s Elimination of Student Benefit Programs [5/27/08]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

…In response, Attorney General Jay Nixon released the following statement:

“During these difficult economic times, too many middle-class families are getting squeezed out of a college education.  Unfortunately, these Missouri families were delivered yet another crushing blow last week, and now students will be forced to pay higher monthly loan payments.  With tuition skyrocketing at our colleges and universities, this was a major step in the wrong direction.  

“When Gov. Blunt raided MOHELA’s assets, the one thing he assured us was that it would cause no harm to Missouri students.  It was obvious — at least to those of us who fought the MOHELA raid from the beginning — that Missouri students would end up paying the price.  And now they are.

“I believe a college education is a key to achieving the American Dream, and I am more committed than ever to creating a pathway to a four-year degree for every Missourian who is willing to work hard and play by the rules.  We must put the dream of a college degree within reach for every Missouri family…”

A retired banker and member of the MOHELA board from 1993 to 2007 tried to warn the General Assembly:

They can’t say they weren’t warned

By John Greer

04/10/2008

…Finally, I tried to bring at least some measure of reality to the proceedings – based on my more than 30 years as a banker and more than 13 years as a member of MOHELA’s board. I told the committee that stripping $350 million out of MOHELA would put the institution immediately into the red. I said that MOHELA would lose millions of dollars the very first year after the plan was approved – and every year after that. I believed that the plan would divert assets from MOHELA’s core mission of enhancing access to higher education for all eligible Missouri students and, worse, that it would threaten MOHELA’s very existence.

No one listened…

And they didn’t listen, David Pearce included:

Journal of the House

First Regular Session, 94th General Assembly

SIXTY-NINTH DAY, Monday, May 7, 2007

…THIRD READING OF SENATE BILL

SS#6 SCS SB 389, relating to higher education, was taken up by Representative Bearden…

On motion of Representative Bearden, SS#6 SCS SB 389 was truly agreed to and finally passed by the following vote:

AYES: 091

Avery

Baker 123

Bearden

Bivins

Brandom

Brown 30

Bruns

Cooper 120

Cooper 155

Cooper 158

Cox

Cunningham 145

Cunningham 86

Day

Deeken

Dempsey

Denison

Dethrow

Dixon

Dougherty

Dusenberg

Emery

Ervin

Faith

Fares

Fisher

Flook

Franz

Grisamore

Guest

Hobbs

Hoskins

Hubbard

Hunter

Icet

Jones 89

Jones 117

Kelly

Kingery

Lembke

Lipke

Loehner

Marsh

May

McGhee

Moore

Munzlinger

Nance

Nieves

Nolte

Onder

Parson

Pearce

Pollock

Portwood

Pratt

Quinn 7

Richard

Rucker

Ruestman

Ruzicka

Sater

Schaaf

Schad

Scharnhorst

Schlottach

Schneider

Schoeller

Self

Silvey

Smith 14

Smith 150

Stevenson

St. Onge

Stream

Sutherland

Thomson

Threlkeld

Tilley

Viebrock

Wallace

Wasson

Wells

Weter

Whorton

Wilson 119

Wilson 130

Wood

Wright 159

Yates

Mr Speaker

NOES: 064…

Representative Cooper (120) declared the bill passed.

[emphasis added]

What they were going to do was quite clear:

Summary of the Truly Agreed Version of the Bill

   SS#6 SCS SB 389 — HIGHER EDUCATION

   This bill changes the laws regarding higher education and the

   powers of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA).

LEWIS AND CLARK DISCOVERY INITIATIVE

MOHELA is authorized to transfer assets, as specified in the bill, to the newly created Lewis and Clark Discovery Fund. MOHELA must distribute $350 million of its assets to the fund no later than September 30, 2013, and moneys in the fund may be appropriated by the General Assembly only for capital projects at public colleges and universities and to the Missouri Technology Corporation to identify opportunities for commercializing technologies at these institutions. Any college or university that knowingly employs a registered sexual offender will be ineligible for capital projects funds.

After an initial distribution of $230 million to the fund, the Department of Economic Development will allocate a percentage, within the limits specified in the bill, of the state ceiling for private activity bonds to MOHELA for at least the next 15 years. If the total distribution of assets is not completed by MOHELA by September 30, 2013, the ceiling dollar amount received by MOHELA will be reduced by the percentage of the $350 million not yet distributed. MOHELA moneys cannot be used to pay state debts. Immunity from personal liability is granted to members of MOHELA for certain decisions.  MOHELA is authorized to issue bonds to fulfill its obligations regarding the transfer of assets to the fund and may establish or invest in financial aid programs that provide student grants and scholarships…

“…I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!”

What we have in this mess is a republican House back bencher voting the party line after the General Assembly was warned in hearings that bad things would happen – and now he’s in the Senate expressing “shock” about the mess to which he contributed.

David Pearce is definitely future republican presidential candidate material.