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Rep. Elijah Haahr answers questions about the controversy surrounding former Gov. Eric Greitens and the recent transition to Mike Parson. He says Parson is the opposite of Greitens, which is beneficial for the state.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
Rep. Elijah Haahr answers questions about the controversy surrounding former Gov. Eric Greitens and the recent transition to Mike Parson. He says Parson is the opposite of Greitens, which is beneficial for the state.

Speaker Pro Tem Haahr: Greitens caused minimal damage to GOP

Posted online

Missouri House of Representatives Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr says former Gov. Eric Greitens’ scandals and subsequent resignation caused minimal damage to Show-Me State Republicans.

Rep. Haahr, R-Springfield, this morning highlighted the highs and lows of the recently completed legislative session, which he said was “embroiled” in allegations that Greitens committed felony invasion of privacy and illegally used a donor list from his former charity, The Mission Continues, to further his gubernatorial campaign.

Haahr — Springfield Business Journal’s guest this morning for the 12 People You Need to Know live interview series — said the controversy surrounding dark money donations was the catalyst as the legislature investigated the claims.

“The tipping point essentially in all of this was the fundraising irregularities. The fundraising issues were fairly black and white,” Haahr said, noting more evidence existed to support those claims, compared with the sex scandal. “We didn’t know how much time, but at that point we felt fairly comfortable that he was going to resign or we were going to have to remove him from office.”

Had Greitens not resigned from office on June 1, Haahr said legislators likely would have voted to impeach him last week in a special session meant to further investigate the embattled governor.

This morning, Haahr downplayed Greitens’ scandals and resignation as it relates to the state’s majority party in the legislature.

“Eric Greitens was never really a Republican,” Haahr said, noting Greitens previously was a Democrat and switched parties prior to his bid for governor, when he campaigned as an outsider compared with other Republicans. “Even while he ran as a Republican, he ran against all the other Republicans.”

Haahr added the timing was right for Greitens’ resignation, as it extended the period between the conclusion of the scandals and elections this fall. The impeachment process would have required the state Senate to select judges to hear the case, he said.

“The November election is a long time away. The judges would have set their own trial schedule. We may have had a conviction trial in October of this year,” Haahr said. “If we were going through a campaign with the Republican governor in a conviction trial in the well of the Senate in October, that would have done a lot more damage to us than I think him resigning now did.”

Though the session was “wrapped up” in the controversies surrounding Greitens, Haahr said legislators still managed to have one of its most successful sessions under the Republican majority.

He pointed to state tax reform, which he sponsored in the House. Among other provisions, reform measures will mean the state’s corporate tax rate will be reduced to 4 percent from 6.25 percent by Jan. 1, 2020.

“This was a critical year for it,” Haahr said, referencing successful tax reform at the federal level, as well as steps to “reimagine tax policy in our state” in a way that is revenue neutral.

He cited changes that “implemented revenue generators and eliminated some deductions in the tax code.” He specifically pointed to the removal of a provision that allowed out-of-state companies to pay less in taxes. Instead, they’ll pay the same taxes that in-state companies are required to submit.

“By eliminating that, we’re not raising any taxes on Missouri-based businesses,” he said.

Haahr also was hopeful Missouri Republicans would fare well under new Gov. Mike Parson.

Haahr cited a culture of secrecy within Greitens’ administration that has begun to shift under Parson.

“Mike Parson is the opposite of Eric Greitens in every possible way, and right now, that’s a great thing,” Haahr said. “He’s been in office for a long time. It’s good for the state. It’s healthy for everybody to move on and transition to a new governor.”

Haahr added Parson is starting off his tenure as governor by staffing up, as Greitens’ employees resigned alongside him.

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sheliaofficeemail@yahoo.com

The only truthful appearing quote greitens appeared to have said other that greitens was a former democrat is that mike parson is the opposite of eric greitens in every possible way and right now that's a great thing. Let's hope it stays that way.

Tuesday, June 19
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