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On Friday Representative Denny Hoskins (r – noun, verb, CPA) held hour long town hall meetings in Holden, Warrensburg, and Knob Noster. Ten people attended the 9:00 a.m. gathering at the Holden Branch of the Trails Regional Library, approximately fifteen people attended the one at 11:00 a.m. at the Warrensburg branch, and approximately ten people attended the 1:00 p.m. town hall at the Knob Noster branch. Representative Hoskins might note that most people can’t attend town hall meetings held in the middle of the day.

The Holden town hall meeting.

Hoskins carried Knob Noster comfortably in the 2008 election. He also carried Holden narrowly. He did not carry the City of Warrensburg, the anchor of the 121st Legislative District. Predictably, the really interesting exchanges came from constituents at the Warrensburg meeting. Here is one of those exchanges, on the subject of Hoskins’ votes on regressive taxes:

Representative Denny Hoskins: …I’ve always said that, I think, being accessible to the public is a, is a primary responsibility, being an elected official. And so I’d like to open the questions and comments and concerns that you have. And we can go from there, so do we have any questions?

Question: Um, I have a question about your changing your vote on an important piece of legislation. In fact there was just a demonstration in Jeff City about this, this is that fair tax thing. You told me you voted against it.

Representative Hoskins: Yes.

Question: That’s correct?

Representative Hoskins: Yes.

Question: On the third reading you voted against it, this is on April 16th.

Representative Hoskins: Um, hm.

Question:  But on April 14th in the perfection, you voted for it. Given the fact that you’re a CPA, you’re on the budget committee, why’d you change your mind on that bill in forty-eight hours?

Representative Hoskins: I’d have, I’d have to go back and look and see if I can see…

The Warrensburg town hall meeting.

Question:  Ah, here. Here’s, uh, here’s the, the record. That’s you on April 14th.

Representative Hoskins: Thank you.

Question:  That’s you on April 14th.

Representative Hoskins: Right.

Question: You’re Hoskins 121, right?

Representative Hoskins: Yes. [crosstalk]

Question: It does say ‘aye’, right? [crosstalk]

Representative Hoskins: It does say ‘aye’.

Question: And here it is on the third reading of the bill on April 16th.

Representative Hoskins: Um, hm.

Question: And that is Hoskins ‘nay’, I believe. Uh, here. Hoskins 121 ‘nay’.

Representative Hoskins: Right.

Question: So in forty-eight hours you changed your mind on that bill. Why?

Representative Hoskins: Well, I, you know, to be honest with you, I’ve been against the, the fair tax bill. Um.

Question: So why vote for it, the first time, on perfection?

Representative Hoskins: I probably found out some more information.

Question: What’d you find out? You, you’re on the budget committee.

Representative Hoskins: I am on the budget committee.

Question: So you, so why didn’t you have enough information to vote against it on perfection?

Representative Hoskins: The fair, let me, are you familiar with the fair tax?

Question: You bet.

Representative Hoskins: Okay, great, great. I…[crosstalk]

Question: You want to explain to people in the room about what it is?

Representative Hoskins: Yeah…[crosstalk]

Question: ‘Cause they may not know what it is. [crosstalk] I mean, it, it, what it is, is really, an incredibly regressive, it’ll end the income tax and it’ll all be a sales tax. There was just a demonstration about it in Jeff City, Joe the plumber was there. And it, what it means for working people it will raise our taxes. And on the perfection vote our representative voted for it. And in forty-eight hours he changed his mind and voted against it. I’m just wondering what, what did you learn?

Representative Hoskins: I, I’d have to go back and, and take a look at that. I’d want to go back and take a look at it. But, what with the fair tax what…[crosstalk]

Question: [garbled] That is [garbled] right? I did represent your record correctly, didn’t I?

Representative Hoskins: If this is the record, than yes. Yes, you did.

Question: Okay.

Representative Hoskins: Um, with the fair tax, what the fair tax is, what it would do is increase the sales tax, uh, for the State of Missouri and eliminate the Missouri income tax. Now there’s some good points, uh, toward that. However, my concerns were that, um, I wanted to see the, what the net overall effect was. Currently the Missouri Society of CPAs, who I just conferenced with, oh, about three weeks ago, has set up a task force to look at the effects on working Missourians and to see what they, they would do. And what came up is I had a lot of questions on what, uh, effect that would have on Missouri. Um, you know, I think that our tax system needs to be reformed. Whether, but, I’m not sure that the fair tax, they way that it is, is the right way to go right now. Uh, maybe a combination of, we need to take a look at, at all, you know, different options out there. Because we’ve seen, when our, when we’re based on sales tax revenue and the economy goes down into the recession, we’ve seen what that can do to our state. So, and what I’d like to see is more stabilized revenue and if, if the, maybe the fair tax is a portion of that, um, including maybe the flat tax is a portion of that. But I think we need to look at, at all our options. And so probably I was given some more information on that.

Question: What did you know, why did you vote for it in the first place though? What did you say just now that is different from what you knew on April 14th when you voted for it in perfection?

Representative Hoskins: Obviously I must have gotten some more information on that.

Question:  Why’d you vote for it in the first place?

Representative Hoskins: I must not have had all the information that I had when I voted, er, against it.

Question:  You’re a member of the budget committee… [crosstalk]

Representative Hoskins: The budget…[crosstalk]

Question: …you’re a CPA and you still voted for a incredibly regressive tax? Thank you. Right, thank you. [garbled] all I know. [crosstalk]Thank you for answering.

Representative Hoskins: You [garbled] respect. [crosstalk][inaudible]….

“…Because we’ve seen, when our, when we’re based on sales tax revenue and the economy goes down into the recession, we’ve seen what that can do to our state. So, and what I’d like to see is more stabilized revenue…”

Is it just me, or did Denny Hoskins (r – noun, verb, CPA) present the definitive argument against a revenue system based exclusively on sales taxes? Wasn’t the exclusivity of sales taxes the whole thing in the “fair” tax proposal? Just asking.

It’s sad, really, when someone is congenitally unable to dismiss a stupid proposal outright because doing so would conflict with right wingnut dogma.

The Knob Noster town hall meeting.