Jeanette Mott Oxford for State Representative 2010

Monday, March 15, 2010

JMO4Rep Update March Madness Edition (No, not basketball -- Missouri's Budget!)

Friends, Allies, and Constituents,

It has been a long time since I sent an electronic newsletter, and I regret the delay. Boy, do I! The delay was caused by a virus that hit my home computer on Jan. 9. Through incompetence at the place that backed up my files, my address books were lost, and a long and complicated process was set off that led to my not having a reliable home computer until late February.

In the meantime, I head back to Jefferson City on March 15 after some refreshing time with family and friends as the General Assembly took its Spring Break from March 5-14. Hopefully I re-charged my batteries enough to handle the tension of the budget process that is now moving into a crucial phase. It is truly March Madness in Jefferson City - with the State in economic crisis, far too much of our time has gone to political games that are about the November elections. (For more on that, see:

There has been little action on the many problems that confront us, and too many of the proposals that have received consideration are deeply flawed (like the so-called "Fair Tax" idea of eliminating all income tax and replacing that revenue with a mega-sales tax of from 8-13%, depending on the version of the bill and whose numbers you believe - for good resources on that, go to

Here are some significant happenings in the first half of this Legislative Session:

Rep. Oxford Restored to Children and Families Committee

Due to changes in committee composition touched off by the resignations of several House members (Rep. El-Amin through legal issues and others due to their own approaching term-limits and the opportunity to take a good job), a vacancy came open on Children and Families. I applied, and your advocacy last year was apparently effective. Speaker Richard invited me to serve. (You may recall that in 2009, I was refused membership due to some GOP legislators finding me "highly offensive.") I have been named Ranking Democrat, and the hard work of being on this committee continues. So many bad ideas come before this committee, including this recent bill that would have set up a procedure around feeding tubes that would have invalidated many end of life directives:

Hopefully we have this bill killed in committee. I don't think most of the GOP members like it any better than the five Democrats do.

Deep Cuts Proposed As Revenue Continues to Lag

Net state general revenue collections dropped by 14.6 percent in February 2010 compared to February 2009, putting year-to-date collections for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 12.7 percent, or about $710 million, behind collections at the same point in FY 2009. As a result Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to make another round of midyear spending cuts on top of the $760 million in reductions he’s made since the current fiscal year began on July 1, 2009. The continuing decline in revenues also places in doubt the revenue estimate for FY 2011 that the Republican budget chairmen in the House and Senate and Nixon agreed on in January. Although a revised estimate hasn’t yet been finalized, significant additional spending cuts are expected for the upcoming fiscal year.

Despite the news, House Budget Committee Chairman Allen Icet, R-Wildwood, on March 3 submitted an FY 2011 spending plan that includes $300 million that he admits the state likely won’t receive. Icet’s budget allocates some of the money to provide the $105 million needed to fully fund the formula for distributing state aid to local public schools. Nixon’s budget plan called for an $18 million increase in the formula.
On March 12 Gov. Nixon announced another $126 million in budget trims to for the current fiscal year and also proposed some areas to cut in the coming fiscal year when the financial picture is projected to be even more bleak for the state of Missouri. Here are a couple of informative items about the proposed cuts and the budget process going forward:

Related to that last item, Sen. Crowell has not been the only voice crying in the wilderness about lack of transparency, evidence-based decision-making, and accountability for our tax credit and other financial incentive programs that purport to create jobs in MO. I have spoken on this issue in debates in the House throughout my time in office, and I also am preparing to file a Good Jobs First bill to reform how we do economic development in Missouri.

The principles that the bill contains are summarized at:
I am concerned about many of the cuts proposed by our governor, even though I understand that his back is to the wall given that Missouri must have a balanced budget by state constitution. Home delivered meals and home and community-based services that keep many senior citizens out of nursing homes are at risk. Family Support Division offices ("the welfare office" in common vernacular) may be closed in many counties and replaced by regional offices with reduced staffing. In rural areas, those in poverty have no transportation to get to such offices, and do we want to cut access to food stamps when so many of our neighbors are unemployed? We can do better than this. Many alternatives could produce needed revenue, and they must be discussed - responsibly, soberly, and with as little political spin as possible.

Tax Justice for a Healthy Missouri Bill Likely to Receive Hearing in Ways and Means Committee

It's clear that we have to find ways to raise revenue in Missouri that are common sense and that will not further hamper our economy. One of the alternatives is the "Tax Justice for a Healthy Missouri" (TJHMO) individual income tax reform plan which I have filed with 23 co-sponsors as HB 2034. TJHMO would:
- modernize our tax brackets (which have not been changed since 1931!)
- reduce taxes, on average, for the bottom 60% of Missouri households by creating a refundable tax credit (that phases out at $50,000 annual income for singles and $80,000 for married filing jointly)
- create a more fair tax system by requiring the wealthiest 20% of Missourians to pay an amount as a percentage of their incomes similar to that paid now by the bottom 80% of Missourians
- raise an estimated $1.3 billion in revenue
- raise 20% of that $1.3 billion by keeping Missouri taxpayer dollars at home instead of sending them to Washington, DC (that is, the wealthiest Missourians will pay less taxes to the federal government because of higher state taxes and the federal offset (this part is kind of complicated, but I have a full explanation in an FAQ document if folks want to e-mail me at this address)
Watch this website for announcements about a hearing on HB 2034: I would also appreciate your e-mails, letters, and calls to the committee asking them to support HB 2034. If you are moved to also write a letter to the editor, that would also be helpful! (Again e-mail me if you need the FAQ document and more educational resources about TJHMO.)

Surrounding Our Schools with Care Update

The Roosevelt High School Marine Corp Junior ROTC visited the State Capitol on Feb. 18 and "presented the colors" for the Pledge to the Flag that begins our daily session on the floor of the House of Representatives. The four cadets looked so sharp in their dress blues, and they were joined by 30 other cadets who stood at attention in the side gallery. I was able to tell the full House about the great accomplishments of these young men and women - marching in the inaugural parade for Pres. Obama, testifying to the Drop Out Prevention Task Force, collecting and distributing gifts to almost sixty local families as part of the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program in 2009, etc. House members gave the Roosevelt youths a well-deserved standing ovation! Sen. Robin Wright-Jones and I provided a pizza lunch for the students, and they were able to tour the Capitol Building and its museum and the Supreme Court. If you'd like to see pictures from this wonderful day, write me at this address or at
JMO Files for Re-Election
On Feb. 23 I filed for re-election as State Representative for the 59th Missouri House District. Thanks to the Map Room at 1901 Withnell for hosting my campaign kick-off party the following Saturday! (Give them some business, y'all. They are a great neighborhood coffeehouse/wine bar.) If you'd like to donate to my re-election effort, you may do so online at:


The J.U.I.C.E. Project is fighting childhood obesity and working to keep youths in school. Support their efforts to win a $50,000 grant from Pepsi by voting for them DAILY until the end of March at: (Please share this link with your friends and ask them to vote too. If you do Facebook, share it there as well.)
Epiphany United Church of Christ is offering a Chicken Pot Pie Dinner on Saturday, April 10, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at 2911 McNair in Benton Park. Make your reservation for this tasty meal by calling 314-772-0263.
Tommy Sowers, Iraq veteran and candidate for Congress will have a fundraiser in St. Louis on Monday, March 22, 2010, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Here are the details:
It's at Pi - Central West End
400 N. Euclid @ McPherson
St. Louis, Missouri 63108
For free food & drink specials, please purchase tickets in advance:
Tommy is a fourth generation native of Missouri's 8th Congressional District, attended Duke University on an ROTC scholarship and spent 11 years in the Army as a Ranger and Green Beret. Tommy completed two deployments to Iraq and was awarded two Bronze Stars. He has a master's from the London School of Economics and taught political science at West Point for three years before returning home to run for Congress. In his first quarter, Tommy raised more than the last ten years of Democratic challengers to the current incumbent combined. He has received the endorsements of Sen. Bob Kerrey, Sen. Bill Bradley, Gen. Wesley Clark, Col. Jack Jacobs, and VoteVets.

The 8th district, despite incredible natural resources and excellent universities, is the 10th poorest of all 435 congressional districts in the nation and ranks dead last for female median income. Over 1/4 of children live in families under the federal poverty line and in some counties, over 45% of people are on food stamps. The Republican incumbent, Jo Ann Emerson, is a former insurance lobbyist and has held the seat since 1996. Tommy wants to address the quality of life issues in southeast Missouri. I hope you'll check him out.
Sen. Robin Wright-Jones (Senate 5) wants to stay in touch with you about her activities. Read her mid-Session report at:
To sign up for her electronic newsletter, send your request to her staff at:
That's all for this time. I will try to update you 1-2 times per month until Legislative Session ends on May 14 and then with less frequency after that.