Sunday, March 2nd, 2014
Boosting Job Growth & Innovation
This week I sponsored two pieces of legislation to address job growth and innovation. The first bill, HB 2042, would require public schools to count computer science classes as math credits, rather than as electives. Computer science, specifically writing computer code, requires mathematical reasoning to design and implement computer algorithms. I have read of 17 other states trying this approach and I believe this is an excellent way to encourage more students to explore computer science. As a state, we often talk about creating a skilled, high-tech workforce—this is a small, but effective step we can take to make Missouri more competitive in the information economy.
The second bill I filed this week was HB 2043. This bill, known as the Education Innovation Investment Act (EIIA), will stimulate job growth and business development at public colleges and universities. Under the EIIA, public institutions may contract with new (non-retail) business startups to occupy vacant land or facilities on campus. To further encourage growth, for their first five years of operation, qualifying businesses may subtract 50% of their adjusted federal income when calculating their Missouri adjusted gross. Likewise, qualifying employees at those businesses may subtract $10,000 of their federal income when calculating their Missouri adjusted gross income for their first five years of employment.
The EIIA will directly benefit several groups:
- Entrepreneurs and their employees will have greater access to tax incentives and institutional resources
- Institutions will be able to monetize their vacant space and collaborate with innovative new businesses
- Instructors and their students will have access to real-world, hands-on learning and job opportunities
Building on Our Commitment to Public Education
As a member of the House Budget committee, I am proud to report that we will recommend a $100 million increase in funding for public education. Additionally, we will recommend a 5% increase to Missouri’s public colleges and universities.
Modernizing, Streamlining, and Lowering Missouri Taxes
The House gave approval this week to HB 1268 which ties Missouri’s tax brackets to inflation. Our state’s tax code has been unchanged for decades and, as a result, if you make more than $9,000 a year you fall in the top tax bracket. I supported this common sense, long-overdue change—it passed by 146-4.
To streamline your experience with the Department of Revenue, the House passed HB 1081—the Paperless Documents and Forms Act. The bill allows DOR to offer all tax forms and documents online and offer the ability to submit those forms and documents electronically. The bill would also allow DOR to send you notifications via email, if that is your preference. HB 1081 passed 146-0.
My colleagues and I also approved two tax cuts this week:
- HB 1253 deals specifically with taxes on business income. The tax cut is phased in over five years; each round of cuts can only go into effect if state revenues remain unchanged; if revenues fall, taxes will not be cut. For small business owners, this means the amount of business income you pay taxes on will decrease by 10% each round until you are only paying taxes on 50% of your small business income. HB 1253 also reduces the corporate income tax from 6.25% to 3.125% over five years. Again, if state revenues fall the remaining tax cuts will not take place. HB 1253 passed 106-49.
- HB 1295 deals specifically with personal income taxes. The tax cut is phased in over seven years in 0.1% increments. State revenue must increase by $150 million (compared to the highest collections of any of the three previous years) in order for each round of cuts to go into effect. Tax revenues will have to grow by over $1 billion before we ultimately reach the final tax rate of 5.3%. HB 1295 also includes a $1,000 deduction for all individuals with an adjusted gross income less than $20,000. To protect education funding, the bill requires 40% of new net general revenue to go to the foundation formula until our schools are fully funded. HB 1295 passed 106-47.
This Week’s Capitol Guests
Gifted students from Rock Bridge High School stopped by my office this week to talk about gifted education…we had a blast!
I had the pleasure of meeting the MU Tiger Volleyball Team this week. Congratulations ladies on winning the Tigers’ first SEC Championship!
If there is an issue that’s important to you, feel free to stop by my Capitol Office any time Monday afternoons through Thursday mornings. I’d be happy to meet with you!
Saturday, February 8th, 2014
My Legislation to Improve Government Accountability Moves Through the House
Back in January, I introduced several pieces of legislation to improve government accessibility and transparency. Last week I had the privilege of presenting a few of those bills to the House Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability.
HB 1433 would require the Department of Revenue to collect information about all taxing districts and display them in a searchable database on the department’s website. This database, as the Columbia Daily Tribune and Springfield News-Leader have pointed out, would bring consumers a little more clarity to tasks such as shopping or buying a home.
HB 1432 would require Missouri’s executive agencies to post, on their homepage, links to proposed language and easy-to-understand summaries of administrative rule changes. These rules carry a lot of weight and govern how you interact with agencies, such as the Department of Revenue for example; rule changes deserve as much public scrutiny as we can give them.
Both bills received a positive response in committee. Once these bills have been voted on by the committee—I am positive they will make their way to the House floor for debate.
Bill to Improve Disaster Response Times Fast-Tracked in the House
I am proud to report that HB 1300, which will help Boone County Fire improve disaster response times for Missouri Task Force 1, has been voted out of committee and recommended for “consent” status. Bills are only granted consent status if they are uncontroversial and will not cost the state any money. HB 1300 allows Boone County Fire to vote on disaster deployment funds immediately via any available form of communication. During the committee process, we strengthened the bill by adding language that would require the Fire Protection District to keep minutes of those meetings and make them publicly available. I am confident HB 1300 will become law this year.
New Jobs Coming to Centralia
Hubbell Power Systems, ABB, and General Cable have announced their partnership with CleanLine Energy to build a 750 mile direct-current transmission line, to carry renewable wind energy, from Kansas across Missouri. This huge project will bring 65 new jobs to Hubbell in Centralia.
You can read more about this exciting announcement onKOMU.
A Big Thank You to Law Enforcement, First-Responders, and Road Crews
I want to publicly thank Captain Lance McLaughlin, of the Highway Patrol, for his help after I blew a tire on the way to Jefferson City. The Captain saw me on the side of the road and stopped to assist me. As we endure more treacherous winter road conditions, I ask that you pray for those Missourians who put themselves in danger to keep us and our roads safe. Before you travel, be sure to check the road conditions at http://traveler.modot.org/map/.
Members of the Missouri Home Care Union stopped by my office this past week to advocate for home health care policies. If there is an issue that’s important to you, feel free to stop by my Capitol Office any time Monday afternoons through Thursday mornings. I’d be happy to meet with you!
Wednesday, February 5th, 2014
I had two bills heard in the House Gov’t Oversight & Accountability committee yesterday. HB1432 would require all state departments [DESE, Dep't of Eco Devo, etc] to prominently post proposed rule changes, as well as fiscal impact for those rule changes on their website. HB1433 would require the Dep’t of Revenue to collect taxing rates from all local taxing districts around the state and provide a searchable database on their website for Missourians to know exactly how much they are being taxed at ALL levels of government. Check out a couple of news articles below to learn more about the bills.
Wednesday, January 1st, 2014
Take a moment and fill out Caleb’s legislative survey by CLICKING HERE. This year’s session will undoubtedly be filled with debate on big-ticket issues, and having your input is invaluable as Caleb navigates these tough issues.
Saturday, December 21st, 2013
If you’d like to learn more about what to expect in the 2014 Legislative session, check out this segment with Caleb and his colleague, Representative Chris Kelly.
Thursday, July 11th, 2013
Caleb has been in the news recently for his effort to attract alienated gun companies from other states that have passed ‘gun-control’ legislation. He was recently on KMOX Radio in St. Louis w/ Mark Reardon talking about the latest efforts and the possibility of some of these companies making Missouri their new home. Click on the link below to hear the interview.
Saturday, June 22nd, 2013
I really enjoyed the chance to see so many old friends and make some new ones at tonight’s Boone County Farm Bureau Strawberry Festival. I was able to report back some very successful legislation for agriculture from this past legislative session. In return, they fed me some awesome pork burgers and strawberries and ice cream. Not a bad menu if you ask me!
Friday, December 7th, 2012
Caleb has been nominated for ‘Best Elected Official’ by Inside Columbia magazine. Everyone take a moment,
CLICK HERE, and vote for Caleb. Many of you have said you wish you could have voted for Caleb in the election…well here’s your chance!
Friday, November 23rd, 2012
Check out what some local media outlets had to say about Caleb’s win over Ken Jacob on November 6th.
Friday, October 26th, 2012