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Opinion: Session not accessing Budget Reserve Fund

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Dear Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery,

The governor has decided to not include accessing the Budget Reserve Fund in the upcoming special session.

As our committee had previously discussed during our last hearing in July, it is premature to think we may know the extent of the costs related to the disasters that have affected, and continue to affect, the state of Missouri, and the governor has adopted our concern. Including accessing the Budget Reserve Fund in the call to special session was made in good faith that a firmer number would be available from the governor closer to veto session. I am pleased the process is slowing down until more information is known. I firmly believe it is vitally important to include accountability in the process through a joint committee between the House and Senate and by gathering better information that will help ensure every precaution is made to be fiscally responsible with every taxpayer dollar.

Not including disaster recovery in the current call to special session does not remove the possibility that we still may be called at a later date this year or that we will not seek to make a response when regular session begins in January. We will continue to work with our communities as they implement their recovery plans. It is imperative that we stand ready to offer what assistance is necessary during their rebuilding process as related costs and requirements are confirmed.

We will also keep an open dialogue as we look into allowing assessors of occupancy counties to provide property tax abatements for commercial properties as is already allowed to residential properties, as well as looking into a streamlined method of credentialing medical professionals that travel from other states, out of kindness, to assist us if we are afflicted with such a tragedy in the future.

—Shane Schoeller, Willard, Speaker Pro Tem and Interim Committee on Disaster Recovery Chairman[[In-content Ad]]

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