Yael T. Abouhalkah

Good riddance to Missouri’s lazy lawmakers

Updated: 2013-05-19T00:41:51Z

By Yael T. Abouhalkah

The Kansas City Star

Even by the low standards Missourians set for their legislators, the 2013 General Assembly that ends tonight in Jefferson City has been one train wreck after another.

What a waste of time.

Whether you’re a liberal or a conservative, you didn’t get your money’s worth out of this lazy bunch of lawmakers.

It’s far easier to tally up what the GOP-controlled House and Senate did not do than what they actually accomplished (other than, of course, passing a couple of meaningless anti-gun control measures, getting themselves worked into a meaningless tizzy over gun records and endorsing destructive income tax cuts that will further bleed Missouri of its ability to provide decent public services).

For example, as of early Friday, they had not done much of anything to:

• End the economic border war that is sapping millions of tax dollars out of the state treasury.

• Improve health care for hundreds of thousands of Missourians — and protect thousands of hospital jobs — with a federally paid expansion of Medicaid.

• Better fund Missouri’s higher education system.

• Shore up financing for struggling K-12 school districts.

• Wipe out inefficient tax credits that, again, cost the state millions of dollars a year.

• Improve the state’s roads and highways. In fact, lawmakers appear ready to punt the decision on a possible 1-cent sales tax all the way out of Jefferson City.

• Approve a $1 billion bond issue to better maintain and to build public buildings at a time when interest rates are at a record low.

Overall, it’s been a disappointing four-plus months in Jefferson City for anyone hoping for some positive leadership out of the General Assembly and, for that matter, out of Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

There is some good news: After 6 p.m. today, Missouri’s lawmakers are done doing most of the damage they’ll be responsible for in 2013.

Sadly, with no interim elections, the sad sad-sack crew will be back in 2014.

To reach Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. He blogs at voices.kansascity.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/YaelTAbouhalkah.

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