Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 28
Printed in the Warrensburg Gazette January 13, 2000

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

Dear Editor

The legislature is now in session - hold onto your wallet! Already, we've heard rumblings that the state will have a budget shortfall between the Hancock Amendment refunds and recent tax cuts (which they had to pass because they were taking more of our money than the Hancock Amendment allows). Remember, the Hancock Amendment allows state spending to grow at the same rate as personal income in Missouri (which should be substantial considering economic conditions); increases require a public vote. Actually, all this shortfall talk is the first step in trying to convert the so-called tobacco settlement money into pork-barrel spending on the backs of the folks who are already paying doubled prices for their addiction.

Interestingly, most of the proposals are for tax credits or decreases. However, these are all "targeted" - which means breaks for some special interest constituency. Another proposal wants to turn over all refunds from Hancock to the mismanagement of the Highway Department.

Our local state representative is sponsoring a revival of the long-dead Equal Rights Amendment. The feminists couldn't get it passed 20 years ago, but it keeps popping up from the undead like Dracula in old movies. At this point, it's purely symbolic, but we know that symbolism is always more important than substance in the political arena. On the other hand, looking at trends in population demographics, maybe men ought to be for it.

Another bunch of bills deal with driving and alcohol. One lowers the legal limit by 20%. A fat lot of good that will do - the people causing the problems are breaking the current laws - actually, they're breaking the law from 20 years ago. Instead of trying to reinstate prohibition by inches, the legislature needs to give the courts and law enforcement the tools they need to take the real drunks off the street. Enforce existing laws, don't write new ones!

A state senator from K.C. has proposed a ban on "assault weapons." This is another solution in search of a problem. Common sense should tell us that those who commit violence against others would ignore any such law, as they ignore existing ones. I'll bet anyone who shoots someone with an "assault weapon" couldn't legally buy a .22 rifle - and wasn't arrested if he tried.

You can keep up on the legislature on the internet at - you can search by sponsor, subject or bill number - plus email your opinions!

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