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State Representative Joe Aull (D-26) spoke about the current legislative session for the monthly meeting of the Johnson County Democratic Club in Warrensburg on Thursday evening, March 19th.

On Education:

…It’s kind of like with education. I don’t know if you know the shell game we play with education. [voice: “Oh yeah.”] And being an ex-educator, this, this really frosts me a little bit. We’ve written new funding formula, new state education funded formula. And we had an old formula that was okay. The old formula was really pretty good ’till we quit funding it. And that old formula had a proration factor in. That proration factor was supposed to be one point zero zero. That meant education was being funded a hundred per cent. That proration factor dropped down to eighty five per cent. That’s when people got upset about the old formula, so now we’ve written a new formula that calls for less money. So we’re braggin’ that we’re now fully funding education ’cause we’re fully funding the new formula that calls for a lot less money than the old one did. Without a tax increase. I mean people buy that. It’s all you’re fully funding education and haven’t increased my taxes. But folks, that’s not true. And those, those sometimes are some of the things that, uh, that we have to deal with…

On the state budget:

…We’re dealing with the budget right now. And the budget’s pretty tough to deal with at the, at the state level because we don’t know right now exactly where we’re going. We know every agency in the state’s probably going to see some kind of cuts. But we don’t know what impact the stimulus money is going to have right now. We know it’s gonna pump more money into the state. But we don’t know exactly how much yet. So we’re trying to kind a shoot in the dark and see if we can come up with some kind of a budget. So it’ll be interesting. We go back off of Spring break next week, so it’ll be interesting to see how that all, how that all shakes out…

 

On TABOR:

…One bill we passed in the House last week, a resolution. It’s called the TABOR resolution. And I don’t know how you feel about this. [voices: “Boo!”] What this resolution did, it says that we cannot increase state expenditures any more than the percentage of the Consumer Price Index. Now, we’re working real hard right now to try and keep taxes down. Nobody likes to talk about new taxes. We’re…I love to go out and say “no more taxes, no more taxes.” We’re giving all kinds of tax breaks. So now is not the time to raise taxes. But I think TABOR’s a bad thing. [voice: “I do, too.”] Somewhere down the line, folks, we as legislators are gonna have to bite the bullet and say, “folks, if we want services, we’re gonna have to pay.” I, I go back to that good old Democrat, Governor Mel Carnahan. 1993. I don’t know if you remember the Outstanding Schools Act, Senate Bill 380….That bill saved public schools. Schools were dying on the vine for. And Governor Carnahan took a lot of heat for that….And he got it passed. And, and that’s, that’s being a good steward, doing what you’re supposed to do. Wasn’t popular, but he did it…Nobody wants to raise taxes, now would not be the good time to do it. But why should we tie our hands ten, fifteen years down the road? [voice: “Amen.”] So, I think the TABOR thing is bad…

On health care for children:

….I was really disappointed, Governor Nixon tried to get the CHIPs, have you heard of the CHIPs program? Childrens health care program. Tried to get that reinstated, to reinstate health insurance for quite a few kids in the state. And the Republicans took that out of the, out of the bill [voice: “Oh, you’re kidding me.”] So right now that’s, that’s on hold…

On campaign finance:

…The last, the last bill I’d mention, this hasn’t come up yet, but I think it’s something we have to address, and that’s campaign finance. If you remember last year the Republicans got a bill passed in both houses to take the caps off of the amount of money that you can contribute to a political candidate. It used to be that you could only contribute so much to a House of Representative or a State Senate candidate, now you contribute whatever you want. And I just think that’s a bad message to send to the public, that, hey, government’s for sale to the highest bidder. I’m hoping that we can get that, can get that reversed some time…

Joe Aull (D-26) does not represent Johnson County in the General Assembly, but he is one of the closest Democratic representatives geographically to the three republican represented districts in the county (120th, 121st – “noun, verb, CPA”, and 122nd).