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					MISSOURI SENATE COMMUNICATIONS
       DAILY NEWS CLIPS
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ST. LOUIS MAN FACING MULTIPLE FELONY COUNTS OF MEDICAID
FRAUD
KMOV.com
Posted on August 31, 2011 at 4:44 PM, Updated yesterday at 6:24 PM
(KMOV.com) -- A St. Louis man is facing 12 felony counts after investigators discovered he submitted fraudulent
Medicaid claims for reimbursement.
Jornel Williams, 77, a personal care services provider and owner of Eagle Home Health Care, Inc. in St. Louis has
been charged with 11 felony counts of Medicaid fraud and one felony count of stealing by deceit. He is charged
with submitting fraudulent claims by billing Medicaid for home nurse visits that were not actually performed.
Attorney General Chris Koster said his Medicaid Fraud Control Unit led the investigation after discovering
suspicious billings through a separate investigation. The investigation revealed that Williams fraudulently billed
Medicaid for more than $23,000 for nurse visits during 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Williams now faces 12 class C felony charges, punishable by up to seven years in prison for each violation, plus
penalties and restitution.
Attorney General Koster said citizens should report suspected Medicaid provider fraud or abuse and neglect to
his Medicaid Fraud Hotline. The number is toll-free at 1-800-286-3932.
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SENATORS PREPARE ARGUMENTS FOR SPECIAL SESSION
Matt Evans
State Capitol Bureau, Missouri Digital News
August 31, 2011 - JEFFERSON CITY - The governor's plan to provide tax breaks for business development and a
China hub in St. Louis ran into opposition before a Senate work group Tuesday.

Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, termed as "irresponsible" the proposed tax breaks approaching $500
million.

Much of the tax breaks in the package drafted by the governor's office and legislative leaders focus on
development of an international trade hub project at Lambert International Airport in St. Louis.

Sen. Chuck Purgason, R-Caulfield, said the proposal is still a work in progress and a lot more debate is needed
during the special legislative session which begins on Sept. 6. After the public session, Purgason and a few other
senators also met behind closed doors.

Purgason chairs the Senate's Ways and Means Committee and sponsored the Senate's version of the China hub
bill last year.

Purgason's plan that won Senate approval last spring, would tie tax breaks for China hub developers along with
deep cuts in various tax credits awarded for a variety purposes including real estate development of historic
buildings and rental costs by lower income elderly.

Purgason, one of the Senate's most outspoken budget hawks, has said that the savings in reducing tax credits
was worth the cost of the China hub tax breaks.

Crowell since the state's budget is so tight, he doesn't think there is room for irrational spending.

Although Purgason's plan of combining China hub tax breaks with cuts in other tax credits won overwhelming
from the Senate last spring, the Ways and Means Committee chair said Crowell was not the only member now
expressing concerns about the latest tax break package.

"I think there's questions out there about how it works and how jobs will be created. I think there's a lot of
questions that hopefully will be answered in the debate," said Purgason.

Proponents of the China hub argue it could bring as many as 15,000 jobs to the St. Louis area.

During the regular session, the House refused to accept the Senate's requirement to include reductions in other
tax credits as part of a China hub package. The measure died on the last night of the legislative session as
legislative leaders and the governor's staff tried to work out a compromise.
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When Gov. Jay Nixon issued the formal call the special legislative session on Aug. 22, he cited this bill as a major
reason.
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PRO TEM MAYER HOPEFUL FOR QUICK SPECIAL SESSION

Posted: Tuesday, 30 August 2011 8:00PM
CentralMOInfo.com - Brian Hauswirth Reporting
Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, is hopeful September's special session can be completed as
quickly as possible:

right-click to download mp3

Missouri lawmakers return to the Statehouse next Tuesday. Governor Jay Nixon is calling on the General
Assembly to pass several proposals, including Aerotropolis, the Presidential primary date move and tax credit
reform. The Governor also wants lawmakers to approve local control of the St. Louis Police Department. State
Rep. Paul Quinn, D-Monroe City, opposes his fellow Democrat's decision to include the St. Louis Police issue:

right-click to download mp3

Nixon also wants lawmakers to approve the Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, and is expected to ask
them to address the Facebook law as well.

Mayer, Quinn and State Rep. Tom Shively, D-Shelbyville, joined us live on KWIX Radio Tuesday morning.
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MISSOURI AUDITOR SUES NIXON
Truman Index - By Jackie Kinealy
Published: Thursday, September 1, 2011, Updated: Thursday, September 1, 2011 01:09
Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich is suing Gov. Jay Nixon for violating the state constitution when he
withheld money from the budget to aid disaster relief without first receiving approval from the legislature or
supplying accounting data to back his decision.
The lawsuit, filed Aug. 26 in a Cole County Circuit Court, seeks the $170 million in withholding to be returned to
the original programs, which includes Bright Flight scholarships, Access Missouri scholarships and construction
projects at state colleges and universities.
The Missouri Constitution gives the governor the authority to withhold money from the state budget when the
actual amount of money the state has to spend falls below the expected amount, according to a statement from
the auditor's office.
Schweich alleges Nixon's withholds for disaster relief this summer do not fall into that category because Nixon
made the decision before the fiscal year began, and did not provide data to justify using that constitutional
power, according to a statement from the auditor's office.
Schweich also accuses the governor of violating the separation of powers by reallocating money without
approval from the General Assembly, according to the statement.
Schweich further noted that the Democratic governor made cuts unevenly between Republican and Democratic
offices in the state.
Scott Holste, press secretary for the governor, said Nixon's decision to divert money to Joplin and flooded areas
of the state was constitutionally justified because the General Assembly gave Nixon a budget based on more
money than the state has to spend.
"It's certainly worth noting that the budget that was submitted to the governor by the General Assembly also
was counting on revenue that they didn't pass the bills to make sure that money would find its way into the state
coffers," he said. Holste said it's common for governors to withhold money from the budget when spending
overreaches the state's revenue.
In addition to higher education, areas of the state affected by the withholds include community intervention
programs, children's treatment services, the Missouri Lottery, the Missouri Department of Transportation and
early grade literacy, according to the auditor's office.
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THREE AREA LEGISLATORS HAVE RESERVATIONS ABOUT ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT PACKAGE
Thursday, September 1, 2011
By Melissa Miller - Southeast Missourian
Missouri business leaders say the state is being outgunned by its neighbors when it comes to competing for new
jobs, but local lawmakers aren't sure the Made in Missouri jobs package is the solution.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, presidents of the state's three largest chambers of commerce
and the president of the AFL-CIO urged support for the Made in Missouri Jobs package earlier this week, and
Gov. Jay Nixon will be at businesses in Perryville and Cape Girardeau today urging its passage.
The Made in Missouri package is a collection of bills debated but not passed during the legislature's regular
session, which ended in May.
It includes the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, Aerotropolis tax credits for a foreign trade hub
in St. Louis, incentives for data centers and upfront financing for new businesses known as Compete Missouri.
In addition to providing new economic development tools in Missouri, it would revamp the state's tax credit
programs saving more than $1.5 billion annually.
The bipartisan economic development deal was announced last month by Sen. Rob Mayer, R-Dexter, and Rep.
Steve Tilley, R-Perryville, and has Nixon's support as well. The governor called for lawmakers to return to
Jefferson City on Sept. 6 to pass the legislation.
Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, said the proposed package of legislation caters to special interests and has
too many loopholes.
"Governor Nixon calls this special session 'Made in Missouri' when the central part of the special session is a tax
credit that subsidizes the importation of China-made products," Crowell said. "The special session should be
called 'special interests first; taxpayers and Missouri jobs last.' The governor should just issue a proclamation
naming September 'special interest month' and be done with it."
Crowell left open the possibility of filibustering the legislation.
"I will do everything I can to prevent the loss of more manufacturing jobs in Southeast Missouri because a few
elites in St Louis and elsewhere want the state taxpayers to subsidize to the tune of $360 million the importation
of China-made goods. I prefer to buy American," he said.
Rep. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau, also said he opposes the economic development package due to
language in the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act opposed by Missouri Right to Life. Known as
MOSIRA, the program would dedicate a portion of state income tax from new jobs at science and technology
companies into a fund to help startups. Wallingford is concerned the language leaves open the possibility that
funds could be used for embryonic stem-cell research, which he opposes.
"I love job bills. I'm all for job creation. I'm pro-business, but in my own moral conscience, I can't balance jobs on
the backs of unborn children," Wallingford said.
He said he hopes an amendment can be adopted to add pro-life language to that part of the package.
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Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, R-Jackson, said she also has concerns with some parts of the omnibus economic
development bill.
"I am really concerned with Aerotropolis. I don't see why they have to build new warehouses when we have
warehouses right there," she said.
The Aerotropolis portion of the package includes $360 million over 16 years in tax credits for warehouse facilities
and airlines to create an international cargo hub at Lambert Airport in St. Louis. Lichtenegger said from what she
understands the project will use existing warehouses in addition to building them. The Aerotropolis tax credits
are also awarded incrementally, which Lichtenegger supports.
"The good thing is they don't get any of this tax credit money unless they perform. If they do perform and it is a
success, people need to realize it will be a success not just for St. Louis, but for the whole state because of the tax
revenue."
Lichtenegger said she is aware of the concern raised by some pro-life groups with the MOSIRA initiative and
while she considers herself pro-life and has been a member of Lutherans for Life for many years, she would not
vote against the bill because of that.
"I've also done some research on the problems with embryonic stem-cell research. They're not using it that much
anymore," she said. "We have guidelines and checks and balances. For one organization to stop something
because it's not the specific language they want, I'm not going to fall for that."
She said she hopes special session's result will be more jobs for Missouri.
"We need to make this a much more business-friendly state, and until we do, we're going to keep losing jobs to
other states," Lichtenegger said.
mmiller@semissourian.com
388-3646
Pertinent address:
Jefferson City, MO
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MCCASKILL BRANDS WARTIME WASTE "DISGUSTING" AT TIME OF
BUDGET CUTS
By Robert Koenig, Beacon Washington correspondent
Posted 3:16 pm Wed., 8.31.11
WASHINGTON - A scathing report released Wednesday on wartime contracting in Afghanistan and Iraq may offer
a roadmap for congressional efforts - at a time of severe budget cuts - to tighten oversight of wasteful spending
by the Pentagon, officials say.
"It is disgusting to think that nearly a third of the billions and billions we spent on contracting was wasted or used
for fraud," said U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who had worked with Sen. Jim Webb, D-Va., to persuade
Congress to establish the U.S. Commission on Wartime Contracting, which issued the assessment.
The commission's report estimated that contracting waste and fraud have amounted to at least $31 billion - and
possibly as much as $60 billion - during the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The waste resulted from ill-
conceived projects, lax planning and oversight by the U.S. government, weak performance by contractors, and
corrupt behavior by a few contractors.
The commissioners warned that at least as much additional waste may develop if host countries cannot or will
not sustain U.S.-funded projects and programs after the United States hands them over. Total spending on
contracts and grants to support U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to be $206 billion by the end
of this fiscal year.
The report made 15 strategic recommendations, including creation of a permanent inspector general's office to
monitor contingency contracting and the naming of a senior official to improve the coordination and planning of
such contracts. It suggested that the Pentagon and other U.S. agencies overhaul the way they award and manage
contracts in war zones so such mistakes are not repeated.
McCaskill, in a statement and a phone discussion with journalists, said the report "offers a roadmap for bringing
accountability to government contracts and rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars." She
pledged to use her position as chair of the Senate's contracting and oversight subcommittee "to go at this as hard
as I know how." She and other senators may offer amendments this fall to military spending bills in an effort to
implement some of the commission's recommendations.
Comparing the commission to the Truman Committee that scrutinized military spending during World War II,
McCaskill said the Pentagon and other federal departments "need to have the kind of oversight so they realize
that, particularly in this budget climate, we cannot waste this kind of money under the umbrella of contracting
practices."
Missouri National Guard project questioned
Among the many U.S. initiatives in Afghanistan that were questioned by the commission were the National
Guard Agribusiness Development Teams (ADT) -- deploying guard units from Missouri and eight other states --
that have been "mobilizing hundreds of soldiers each year to provide agricultural expertise in a dozen key Afghan
provinces."
While she said the Missouri guard units had "done great work," McCaskill said the commission questioned the
changes to the ADT mission as a whole.
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"What started out as a manageable program has morphed into something that the Commission believes we need
to take a hard look at," she told reporters. "What started out as teaching people has become an alternative
sustenance to a lot of these farmers, in terms of just the money that's being paid. We have to be careful about
how that is implemented."
(Read earlier Beacon coverage of the Missouri guard in Afghanistan here .)
Among the examples of wasteful or unsustainable spending cited in the commission's report was $35 billion
appropriated by Congress since 2002 to train, equip and support the Afghan National Security Forces. Another
program was the establishment of scores of health-care centers in Iraq "that far exceed the Ministry of Health's
ability to maintain them," the report said.
Michael Thibault, a co-chair of the commission and former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency,
said the U.S. government has known for two decades that contractors would be a key part of any major response
to sustained hostilities, but clearly it "was not prepared to go into Afghanistan in 2001 or Iraq in 2003 using large
numbers of contractors, and is still unable to provide effective management and oversight of contract spending
that will have exceeded $206 billion by the end of September. That has to change."
Provincial Reconstruction Team members meet with Afghan contractors at a hospital expansion site.
The other commission co-chair, former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays of Connecticut, said in a statement
Wednesday that "the government is over-relying on contractors." As many as 260,000 contractor employees
have worked in Iraq and Afghanistan -- at times outnumbering the military they support -- and Shays said that
"some contractors have been performing tasks that only federal employees should perform, while others are
doing work that is permissible but still too risky or inappropriate for contractors."
McCaskill agreed that "the dirty little secret that's now been exposed - and this goes governmentwide, not just in
wartime contracting" is the over-reliance on contractors. She said the government has "hollowed out our
acquisition personnel. We have to make the investment in government employees that know how to police this."
At a time when Congress is looking for areas to pare in the Pentagon's budget, McCaskill said lawmakers should
"cull these numbers and look at what we've spent on logistical support. Look at what we've spent on projects in
theater -- such as power plants and health centers, roads and bridges. Look at how we've been able to sustain
those projects. And begin to question: Should we be making those kinds of investments? If we know that, in the
next 10 years, they're going to sit empty and crumbling. That is the most insulting thing of all to the American
taxpayer."
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MCCASKILL STUNNED BY EXTENT OF FRAUD, WASTE IN IRAQ AND
AFGHAN WARS
By STEVE KRASKE - The Kansas City Star
Posted on Wed, Aug. 31, 2011 11:16 PM
Shortly after arriving in Washington in 2007, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri knew the government’s practice of
hiring private contractors could be a source of wasted tax dollars and even fraud.
A trip to Iraq confirmed it.
“Contracting was out of control,” she said Wednesday after releasing a new oversight report in Kansas City. “It
was the wild, wild West. There was no competition. There was money being wasted. There were pallets of
money disappearing. There were things being built that weren’t even functioning.”
The report — from the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan — affirmed those fears and
more.
The bipartisan panel, which McCaskill helped and was styled after Harry Truman’s World War II oversight
committee, concluded that as much as $3 of every $10 that U.S. taxpayers spent on wartime contracting over the
last decade went up in smoke due to waste and fraud.
That’s an estimated $31 billion to $60 billion lost due to lax oversight of contractors and poor planning. However,
McCaskill, a former Missouri state auditor, said she suspected the total was far higher.
Altogether the federal government spent more than $200 billion on private contractors who provide everything
from security to transportation to food preparation. The practice is destined to continue in a small-government
era when lawmakers are reluctant to hire more permanent workers, the Democratic senator said.
“The problem was the military was not ready, equipped or able to do these contracts in a way that the taxpayers
could ever approve of,” McCaskill said.
Military leaders “basically said, ‘We want what we want, and we don’t care what it costs, and we don’t care how
sloppy we are in the process,’ ” she said. “And that’s what caused billions and billions and billions of dollars to go
down the drain.”
One example cited in the report was an effort in 2009 to distribute vouchers for wheat seed and fertilizer in
drought-stricken areas of northern Afghanistan. Under pressure to increase spending, USAID, the government
agency providing economic and humanitarian assistance, boosted spending to $1 million a day in each of a dozen
districts, creating an environment “in which waste was rampant,” the report noted.
The document also cited the soaring cost of building the $82 million Afghan Defense University, that country’s
equivalent of West Point. Defense officials now concede that Afghanistan may not be able to afford the $40
million a year needed to operate and maintain the university.
Other examples cited in the report included one Afghanistan road project involving the New Jersey-based Louis
Berger Group and Black & Veatch, Kansas City’s largest engineering firm. According to the report, the project
more than doubled from its $86 million estimate due to unexpectedly high security costs.
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A spokesman for Black & Veatch referred all questions to the Louis Berger Group. An official there said the
negotiated cost of the highway was nearly $108 million and that the project was the most dangerous one
undertaken by the group in decades.
“More than 90 percent of cost increases on this project are attributable to the deteriorating security conditions,”
said spokeswoman Holly Fisher.
Contributing to the overall problem is an attitude that if government is paying the bills, few care what it costs,
McCaskill said. She cited one case where military leaders wanted three kinds of ice cream in Iraqi mess halls.
“We don’t care what it costs,” McCaskill quoted one general who talked with her. Her response: “We can get
three kinds of ice cream in the mess halls for our soldiers without it costing as much as the entire chain of Baskin-
Robbins stores in the United States of America.”
At Wednesday’s news conference McCaskill promised to pursue a series of recommendations contained in the
report, including placing new emphasis on evaluating the practicality of projects.
“Why build a $200 million power plant with state-of-the-art technology that Afghanistan can’t afford to run and
doesn’t know how to operate?” she asked.
The report recommends the hiring of an inspector general to monitor contracting, as well as phasing out hiring
private contractors for security at military bases.
McCaskill said she’s also spoken with outgoing Gen. David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other
top military officials about her concerns. She said they were “quick to acknowledge” the need to pay more
attention to contracting costs.
“They have got to teach contracting as part of a core skill set of military leadership,” McCaskill said. “It’s a big
problem.”
The commission also suggested that a joint House-Senate debt reduction panel examine its recommendations, or
the problems will only persist.
“What you’re asking for is more of the same,” said Dov Zakheim, a commission member and a former Pentagon
comptroller. “More waste. More fraud. More abuse.”
The report’s findings present an opportunity to get a handle on the problem, according to Michael Thibault, the
commission’s co-chairman and a former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency.
“If these recommendations are not implemented, there ought to be a Hall of Shame,” he said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. To reach Steve Kraske, call 816-234-4312 or send email to
skraske@kcstar.com.
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SENATOR CALLS FOR REFORM OF WAR CONTRACTS
McCaskill: Rampant waste and fraud must be reined in.
Springfield News-Leader – Matt Woolbright, Gannett Washington Bureau
6:08 AM, Sep. 1, 2011
WASHINGTON -- A special commission's conclusion that $31 billion to $60 billion has been lost to fraud and
waste in contracts for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is conservative and the result of a cavalier attitude about
military contracts, Sen. Claire McCaskill said Wednesday.
The lost dollars could total up to 30 percent of all money spent on support services in the two countries.
McCaskill, D-Mo., chairwoman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee's subcommittee on
contracting oversight, said the report by the bipartisan Commission on Wartime Contracts shows that war
contracting waste was rampant.
McCaskill called the problems a "dirty little secret" and said they were in large part due to an attitude of "what I
want when I want it" rather than deciding on new military contracts based on need.
There needs to be better distinctions made between what is necessary and what is convenient when allocating
military contracts to best utilize American dollars, she said.
"Apart from the wars, the budget at the Pentagon has nearly doubled in the last 10 years. There's real money to
be saved if we do this right," McCaskill said.
In another example of wasteful military spending, USA Today reported Monday that the Department of Defense
has paid out more than $720 million in late fees for shipping containers leased from private corporations dating
to the beginning of the war on terror in 2001.
Not only is the money lost to American efforts, but some of the poorly handled money ended up with the Taliban
in Afghanistan, McCaskill said. The second-leading source of Taliban income, behind drug money, is money
gained from warlords in the region, many of whom have contracts with the U.S. military, she said.
"There's no question some of our money is getting into the hands of the bad guys," she said.
McCaskill hopes to use the report's findings as leverage to pass legislation to increase acquisition staff and funds
devoted to contract management.
"The fact is we now have confirmation from a non-partisan organization, and we know we are not talking about
chump change. We are talking about tens of billions of dollars," McCaskill said.
While legislation will take time, McCaskill said the commission's recommendations to restructure the contracting
process and add more staff must be dealt with immediately.
"We are hoping this report is going to allow a platform for continued looks at contracting and contracting
policies," she said. "Particularly in this budget climate we cannot waste this kind of money on sloppy
contracting."
McCaskill said the only choice now is to increase spending in the short-term to ensure the proper procedures are
used to save money in the long term, she said.
"We have to make the investment in government employees that know how to police this," McCaskill said. "We
frankly have dropped the ball on this."
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MCCASKILL SAYS AT LEAST $31 BILLION LOST IN WARTIME
CONTRACTING WASTE
September 1, 2011
Missouri News Horizon - Posted by: Tim Sampson
JEFFESON CITY, Mo. – The United States has squandered at least $31 billion due to waste and fraud in the Iraq
and Afghanistan wars, according to a new government report released Wednesday.
The bi-partisan Wartime Contracting Commission, co-created by Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill and Virginia Sen.
Jim Webb, released the final conclusions of its three-year study into how the military has managed private
contractors. The committee made a total of 15 strategic recommendations for how the military could better
control the costs of war, which include phasing out high-risk private security forces for certain functions and
establishing better managerial practices.
“I think the dirty little secret that has now been exposed – and in fact this goes government wide, not just in
wartime contracting – is that if you don’t have personnel to work for the federal government, rather than
increase the personnel and the cost associated with that, (you) go out and contract,” McCaskill said.
The 240-page final report criticized military and government leaders for failing to properly handle private
contractors starting with the Afghanistan War in 2001, even though the need for contractors was anticipated
long in advance.
Currently there are 260,000 contractor employees working in Iraq or Afghanistan.
“The government has known for 20 years that contractors would be a key part of any major response to large or
sustained hostilities or major disasters,” said commission co-chair Michael Thibault, former deputy director of
the Defense Contract Audit Agency. “Yet the government was not prepared to go into Afghanistan in 2001 or Iraq
in 2003 using large numbers of contractors.”
Although the committee definitively identified at least $31 billion in wasteful or fraudulent spending, their report
said that number could be as high as $60 billion.
Among the report’s recommendations are to scale back the use of private contractors in certain high-risk military
operations and to elevate the authority of certain officials within the Pentagon who oversee contracts in order to
insure tighter integration. The report also calls for reforms to ensure more contract competitiveness and better
performance tracking.
The issue of military contracting was thrust to the forefront of the American consciousness several years ago
when Blackwater Security Consulting, a private security firm, came under scrutiny during the Iraq War. Several
investigations by the U.S. State Department and other agencies found Blackwater to be at fault for actions that
resulted in numerous civilian deaths, raising questions over how the government managed such private entities
that fell outside the conventional military chain of command.
The report, based on interviews, testimony and document analysis, found that many of the contracted
stabilization and reconstruction projects performed in insurgency-contested areas have not been properly
supervised by the military, leading to “deaths, delays and waste.”
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It was also determined that wartime agencies have become overly dependent on contractors in general, treating
private companies as the default solution whenever they lack the in-house capability.
McCaskill blamed this on poor budget planning in Washington and the Pentagon.
“The attitude in the military has been, too many times, ‘I want, what I want, when I want it’,” McCaskill said.
She argued that military leaders need to focus more on defining budget priorities and getting the best value from
contractors.
Although the investigation into wartime waste began several years ago, it has taken on new relevance as the
congressional joint select committee on deficit reduction prepares to meet and discuss ways to shave $1.2 trillion
from the federal deficit – as stipulated in the debt ceiling increase plan approved by Congress in August.
Commission co-chair and former Connecticut Congressman Christopher Shays, said reform was imperative but
would have to be implemented through every level of government.
“Unless changes are made, continued waste and fraud will undercut the effectiveness of money spent in future
operations,” he said.
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PENTAGON CRITICIZED FOR LAX CONTRACTOR OVERSIGHT
By David Alexander - Reuters
WASHINGTON | Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:04pm EDT
WASHINGTON(Reuters) - Ineffective Pentagon oversight of private contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan has
wasted up to $60 billion over the past decade, a "troubling" failure that undermines U.S. security and cannot
continue in an era of tight budgets, a special panel reported on Wednesday.
The congressionally mandated Commission on Wartime Contracting, releasing its final report, said U.S. security
forces are overly dependent on private contractors, whose employees in theater totaled 260,000 in 2010 and
have sometimes outnumbered U.S. military and civilian personnel.
Contractors have been tapped to do work meant to be handled exclusively by federal employees, the panel said.
The Defense Department, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development are so reliant on
contractors that they have even lost the ability to perform some core missions themselves.
Yet despite spending some $206 billion on grants and contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002, the Pentagon
and other U.S. agencies have failed to field an oversight structure that can ensure the work is carried out
properly, the panel said.
"The government remains unable to provide effective large-scale contract management and oversight," former
Representative Christopher Shays, a co-chairman of the panel, told a news conference to release the report.
"That fact is troubling because U.S. doctrine has held for more than 20 years that contractors are part of the total
force that would be deployed in contingencies," he said.
"Yet the government was not prepared to go into Afghanistan in 2001 or Iraq in 2003 using large numbers of
contractors. ... We are still not adequately prepared to use contractors to the scale required," he said.
Michael Thibault, a former deputy director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency who served as the panel's other
co-chair, said ineffective oversight led to waste, fraud and abuse. Between $31 billion and $60 billion of the $206
billion in contracted funds had been lost to waste or fraud, the panel estimated.
Marine Corps Colonel David Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Defense Department shared the
commission's "commitment to improving wartime contracting" and commended it for pointing out the risk of
overreliance on contractors and the need to strengthen contracting functions.
"We are supportive of efforts to reduce waste and improve on the value we obtain for the dollars we spend in
support of contingency operations," he said. "Monitoring, assessing, and taking corrective action is a continuous
process within the department, and we continually improve our planning, oversight, and the management of
contractors on the battlefield."
THREE KINDS OF ICE CREAM
Senator Claire McCaskill, who helped establish the panel, faulted the Pentagon's leadership for failing to develop
adequate contract oversight and warned the military must become more cost-conscious in the current fiscal
climate.
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"With all due respect, they have not embraced contracting oversight as a core competency in their leadership
training," she told reporters. "When I went to Iraq the guy that was in charge of overseeing the contracts in the
unit was the low guy on the totem pole who was handed a clipboard."
"The attitude too many times in the military has been: I want what I want when I want it," she said. "I've had
generals say to me in theater: 'I didn't care what it cost. I wanted three kinds of ice cream in the mess hall
yesterday.'"
With Washington working to get a handle on the country's trillion-dollar budget deficits, McCaskill warned that
military leaders "need to realize that we're going to have to find savings."
Under an August agreement between President Barack Obama and lawmakers in Congress, the Pentagon is
currently working to reduce spending by $350 billion over the next decade and may face another $600 billion in
cuts unless officials reach a new compromise.
"There's real money to be saved if we do this right," McCaskill said.
Given U.S. inability to conduct contingency operations without contractors, commission members expressed
confidence their recommendations would be implemented.
"We have to take taking contractors to war seriously," said Robert Henke, a panel member and former senior
defense official. "It's a national security issue of the highest importance and demands reform."
(Editing by Eric Walsh)
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MCCASKILL HEARS FROM FLOOD VICTIMS
Ken Newton - St. Joseph News-Press
POSTED: 9:50 pm CDT August 30, 2011UPDATED: 9:52 pm CDT August 30, 2011
Kathy J. Kunkel admits that Holt County, with a population of less than 5,000, has a limited national profile.
But if the county hasn’t made its story of Missouri River mismanagement heard, it wasn’t for lack of trying.
“We’ve been on a very small soapbox, (yelling) as hard as we can yell,” said Ms. Kunkel, the county clerk.
Sen. Claire McCaskill came to St. Joseph Tuesday with available ears. And the lawmaker heard plenty.
More flood coverage
The senator met with about two dozen people with a stake in the prolonged flooding in the region. She promised
to compile their thoughts and give them a voice when discussions in Washington turned to disaster recovery and
future river management.
Ms. McCaskill said the Army Corps of Engineers needs to restore not only levees along the river but the
confidence of Missourians who live behind those levees.
“Our faith has been shaken,” she said, “and we all need to see a very transparent process.”
Ron Hook, Buchanan County Western District commissioner, said the corps needs to prove it can shore up levees
to withstand floods sure to come in the future.
“If they’re not fixed and repaired, we’re going to go through this again next year,” he said.
The commissioner insisted that corps mismanagement led to the breadth and duration of the flood.
“They won’t acknowledge that,” Ms. McCaskill said.
Mr. Hook countered, “Well, everybody in the room would.”
Carla Markt, the Holt County assessor, said the Northwest Missouri county has suffered flooding almost annually
since the corps included in its river management manual a provision to prioritize habitat for endangered species.
She said the plan for artificial river rises defeated its purpose.
“The sandbars used to be there before they started the spring pulse,” she said. “They washed it all away. The
animals are gone, the vegetation is gone.”
Ms. McCaskill responded, “So in the name of doing something, they’ve done the opposite. It drives you crazy,
doesn’t it?”
The senator noted a suggestion made to allow hard-hit levee districts to be “grandfathered in” to a program for
federal cost-sharing, though they had not been in the program before. Also, she wanted to make sure the corps
had clearly defined point persons from its Kansas City and Omaha offices to communicate with county officials.
She vowed to bring up the ideas at the next meeting of the Missouri River Working Group, a committee formed
this summer and comprised of U.S. senators from states touched by the waterway.
The next decisions by the corps, Ms. Markt said, meant much to the people of Holt County.
“We don’t want to put the millions of dollars back into (levees) and have it washed away again next summer,”
she said.
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Ken Newton can be reached at ken.newton@newspressnow.com.
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SEN. BLUNT CRITICIZES REGULATION AT MARBLE HILL APPEARANCE
Thursday, September 1, 2011
By Linda Redeffer - Banner Press
MARBLE HILL, Mo. -- Too little money and too much government add up to agencies that can do only a part of
what they promise and basically nothing gets done, said U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, who spoke to a packed room
Wednesday morning at Jer's Restaurant.
Blunt, a Republican, criticized the Environmental Protection Agency, calling it "just terrible," regulating the
country out of employment. Blunt cited cap-and-trade regulations, which he said the EPA pushed through in the
guise of a bill to regulate clean air by eliminating coal as a power source, as legislation that will increase the cost
of utilities by 82 percent in the next 10 years, "and double after that. We have pretty cheap electricity because of
coal."
Blunt said over-regulation of coal energy is causing factories to relocate to China, India and Mexico, "where they
don't care where the smokestacks are."
"American jobs need American energy," Blunt said. "We use the same amount in a bad economy as in a good
economy. Energy jobs are number one in private-sector jobs."
Blunt said the size of the federal government is becoming so big the economy can't support it. He recalled when
he was growing up in southwest Missouri how people would declare that all the federal government needs to do
is provide for defense and run the post office.
"We have too many places where three or four levels of government are trying to do the same thing," Blunt said.
"We get much better decisions closer to home."
Spending at a local or state level makes more sense, instead of relying on the federal level.
"FEMA is another example," Blunt said. "FEMA gets something started it doesn't have the capacity to finish."
Disaster relief
The senator made that comment in response to recent criticism for FEMA's freezing money for the Joplin, Mo.,
tornado rebuilding to help pay for Hurricane Irene response on the East Coast.
"You do have to get to emergencies first, but you also have to fulfill the commitment you made to people when
you start a project," he said.
Blunt said FEMA does not have money now to fund everything it promised but added that the fiscal year will run
out in another month and that there will be money in the new budget to pick up the gap. He also advocated
better planning so commitments can be kept and shifting some responsibility, and funding, to state emergency
agencies. Blunt said he has commissioned a study to determine how best to define a national disaster so the
state and federal agencies can make best use of available resources.
Keeping commitments is something Blunt believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should also improve on.
Blunt has toured the Birds Point landing where the Mississippi River levee was breached in May and said he will
return there this week. He supports efforts to require the corps to restore the levee to its original size.
"The corps' plan allowed them to tear the levee down; now it requires them to put it back," he said.
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If the levee is left at 51 feet, as the corps said it would build the levee to, then more than 130,000 acres of
farmland the levee is protecting will be in jeopardy.
"It will flood every other year," Blunt said. "In the last 20 years the river has flooded 12 times and been high
enough it would have gone over the base of the levee the corps is currently building. They need to add those
extra 11 feet."
Blunt also answered questions about national defense, economic development, and other questions on the
minds of his constituents.
Pertinent address:
107 Presnell St., Marble Hill, MO
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GRAVES LOOKS FORWARD TO VOTE ON BALANCED BUDGET
Amendment will bring out both houses to start the process
Ken Newton - St. Joseph News-Press
POSTED: 10:37 pm CDT August 31, 2011
The prospect of a balanced budget amendment vote made palatable a less-than-savory debt ceiling agreement,
Congressman Sam Graves told a St. Joseph audience on Wednesday.
Holding a town-hall meeting at the Missouri Theater, the six-term representative said he preferred an earlier
piece of legislation known as “cut, cap and balance,” but that failed to clear Congress. The eventual accord did
not have all the cuts he wanted, but it included one component he found essential.
“It’s the vehicle for the balanced budget amendment,” he said. “The start of the process is getting both houses to
vote on it. ... I want this vote out there.”
Mr. Graves said the American people also want the vote, adding that lawmakers who choose badly will pay the
price at the polls next year.
“I would hate to be the member of Congress or member of the Senate that comes home in this environment and
explains why they were against a balanced budget amendment,” he said.
The meeting drew about 90 people. It is one of a series of gatherings the Republican has held around Missouri’s
6th District during the August congressional recess.
His staff cited a statistic that only about 40 percent of House members have held similar sessions this month.
Such shyness might reflect the low congressional approval ratings, about 12 percent according to one recent poll.
While the atmosphere proved civil throughout, the meeting got off to an unusual start with a “security situation”
being announced to the audience.
Jason Klindt, a spokesman for Mr. Graves, told the crowd the St. Joseph Police Department and the U.S. Capitol
Police were investigating a possible threat to the theater on a social media website. It included Arabic lettering
and identification of the theater.
As the spokesman finished this brief announcement, Mr. Graves walked to the front of the auditorium and
started the session, only a couple of minutes after the announced starting time.
Police officers looked down on the meeting from the theater balcony, but the meeting proceeded without
incident.
Questions came to the congressman on a variety of subjects (the “fair tax,” closing of rural post offices) and from
an assortment of philosophical angles.
John Farnsworth of St. Joseph asked why Mr. Graves gave ground on the debt ceiling legislation. The questioner
said the bill lacked constitutional authority and took power away from Congress.
“I elected you to represent me, not a supercommittee,” Mr. Farnsworth said.
Mr. Graves countered that his constituents would continue to be protected by his votes, with the debt panel’s
recommendations ultimately being voted on by the full House.
“The House isn’t going to approve any taxes, I can guarantee that,” the lawmaker said.
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Ruth Myers of St. Joseph took issue with the congressman’s vote against the Affordable Care Act and his
subsequent vote in an attempt to repeal it. She said her small business would benefit from provisions in the
health reform legislation, including one regarding the coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The representative defended those votes, saying the legislation required too much federal money and did
nothing to bring down health-care costs.
“My vote to do away with ObamaCare was right on,” he said.
While President Obama and presidential candidates have turned their attentions to a jobs agenda, none of the
questions at the meeting directly reflected that concern.
Several of the questions involved Army Corps of Engineers and the flooding along the Missouri River. David King
of Oregon, Mo., asked if Mr. Graves could use his influence to make sure bridges reopen quickly in the areas
north of Holt County.
The lawmaker said he would continue to push for public support to restore levees and other infrastructure,
particularly the long-closed Interstate 29 in a portion of his district.
He added, “I think the damage is going to be worse than we actually know.”
Ken Newton can be reached at ken.newton@newspressnow.com.
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WIND ENERGY POWERS AREA JOBS, INVESTMENT
By Susan Redden – The Joplin Globe
August 31, 2011
JOPLIN, Mo. — The positive side of wind — as a job creator for Joplin area companies — took center stage
Wednesday when U.S. Rep. Billy Long toured Able Manufacturing and Assembly to learn more about wind
turbine components produced by the plant.

Joplin area manufacturers produce a number of parts used in wind energy production, and the region could
become an actual producer of wind energy if a site under contract in northern Jasper County is developed as a
wind farm.

Jim Schwarz, president of Able Manufacturing, said wind industry is a growing element of business for the
company that employs 330 workers.

Joplin’s proximity to wind farms and suppliers also has spurred the development of a local organization that
markets local companies as suppliers. About 20 businesses are involved in the group, along with three colleges in
the area, according to Kevin Welch, who works at the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce as part of the Joplin
Regional Prosperity Initiative.

“We’re right in the middle of an area that has a lot of original equipment manufacturers for the wind industry,”
he said. “With our proximity to them and wind farms, it’s a growing market.”

Able Manufacturing produces nose cones, blade housings and other components for the three largest
manufacturers of turbines used in the wind industry, according to Craig Forcum, production manager with the
company. FAG Bearings produces bearings used in the turbines. Welch said a dozen companies in the Joplin area
and Southeast Kansas currently manufacture for the industry or “could retool” to do so.

The company also works with Franklin Technology Center and colleges in the area, said Susan Adams, human
resources director.

“Their auto body programs lend themselves to our process,” she said. “We have 10 job openings we could fill
today.”

Currently, wind farms closest to the region are in Southeast Kansas. One may be developed in northern Jasper
County if Iberdrola Renewables decides to move forward on property owned by more than 50 landowners that is
under lease to the company, the second largest owner of wind firms in the United States. The company still is
waiting on evaluations of the site, and the economy is another factor, said Paul Copleman, communications
manager.

“We’ve completed the land acquisition work that we envisioned, and we have four meteorological towers on the
site,” he said. “We’ve done some very preliminary environmental work, but it’s still too early to know if the site is
economically viable.”
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Understanding wind patterns at a potential site “is a multiyear project,” he said, “and with the economy right
now, prices are down on all forms of energy.”

After Long’s tour of the Joplin plant, the lawmaker said he had been unaware of the amount of work involving
the wind industry under way in Joplin. The visit was arranged by the American Wind Energy Association, whose
officials are lobbying Congress on behalf of a production tax credit that would benefit the industry. Maggie
Lemmerman, manager of federal legislative affairs for the association, accompanied Long on the plant tour.

“Everyone is interested in renewable energy,” Long said.

President Barack Obama next week is to unveil a new jobs plan. Long said the nation “doesn’t need a jobs
project. We need to make it easier for American companies to do business.

“Now, we over-regulate, over-tax-ate and over-litigate.”

FEMA funds

REP. BILLY LONG said he is confident that Joplin is not in danger of losing Federal Emergency Management
Agency disaster funding in the wake of Hurricane Irene. He said he met last week with Homeland Security
Secretary Janet Napolitano and FEMA Director Craig Fugate. He said funding will have to be allocated in the new
federal fiscal year, adding, “Money delayed does not mean money denied.”
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EAGLEPICHER, FAG SEE OPPORTUNITIES WITH EXPANSION OF WIND
FARMS
From staff reports – The Joplin Globe
August 31, 2011
JOPLIN, Mo. — EaglePicher Technologies and FAG Bearings Corp. are two Joplin companies that see opportunity
in the wind.

EaglePicher’s “power pyramid” system could be used to store energy generated by wind farms, for example, with
the energy released during times of peak demand, said Ron Nowlin, vice president and general manager of
aerospace operations for EaglePicher Technologies.

Nowlin said Wednesday that the company is going forward with plans to develop a 2-megawatt-hour battery in
Joplin as a demonstration project. The battery would be the size of five semitrailers.

A megawatt is 1 million watts; for comparison purposes, the typical car battery is about 600 watts.

The goal is to produce “load-leveling” energy from wind farms, according to the company, with power being
stored in large batteries when wind is turning the turbines and being released as needed, providing a steady
rather than an intermittent flow of electricity to the grid.

The final batteries could be as large as a football field.

The power coming from wind farms right now, if it could be charted, would look like a roller coaster, with sharp
peaks and valleys. Utilities tap that energy potential at some range across the middle, and then adjust their other
sources of power in response to the intermittent wind. If the wind were recharging large batteries, and those
batteries were interfaced with the grid, the steep peaks and valleys of that roller-coaster chart would moderate
some, and the result would be a more reliable feed to the grid.

“The goal will be to have it up and in operation by the end of the year,” Nowlin said. “We see this as a big
opportunity for us in the future.”

FAG Bearings has invested nearly $40 million in recent years at its plant at 3900 S. Range Line Road.

The company is making large ring bearings 40 inches in size that will be used in the gear boxes of wind-powered
generators.

Officials with FAG were unavailable on Wednesday for comment.
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GOV. NIXON QUERIES FEMA ON AID DELAYS
Confusion in Joplin followed word of freeze in funding.
ASSOCIATED PRESS – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:05 am
ST. LOUIS • Disaster-struck communities counting on federal aid for recovery need to know which rebuilding
projects will be delayed as money is shifted to other parts of the country, Missouri's governor told the Federal
Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday.
FEMA announced earlier this week that it was freezing some disaster aid to Missouri and the South so it could
provide immediate help on the East Coast after Hurricane Irene. With the agency's disaster fund at less than $1
billion, FEMA also said it was holding some money back to respond to any additional natural disasters this year.
Victims of the May tornado that killed 160 people in Joplin and other disasters will continue to get individual aid
for such things as temporary housing and debris removal, the agency said. But help with long-term rebuilding
projects has been placed on hold until Congress allocates more money to the disaster fund.
The announcement created confusion and concern in Joplin and Missouri communities damaged by widespread
flooding from the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.
Those areas are counting on 'significant support from the federal government" and "need certainty and clarity
about the federal resources that will be available," Gov. Jay Nixon said a letter he sent to the federal agency.
Nixon asked FEMA for details on which projects would be affected immediately by the funding freeze.
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GOVERNOR TO CONSIDER BUSINESS TAX RELIEF FOR SPECIAL
SESSION
By Roger McKinney - The Joplin Globe
August 31, 2011
JOPLIN, Mo. — Some Joplin small-business owners are encouraged by the news that Gov. Jay Nixon will consider
adding property tax relief for businesses that were destroyed in the May 22 tornado to the agenda for a special
legislative session that begins Tuesday.

The legislation has been proposed by state Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin. A law now in place allows property taxes to
be prorated for people whose homes were destroyed in the tornado. The option doesn’t extend to businesses,
which would result in owners paying property taxes on businesses that no longer exist and aren’t producing
income. Nixon says that doesn’t make sense.

In Missouri, local property taxes are assessed based on the value of the property on Jan. 1. Counties have the
option under Missouri law to allow new homes to be added to the tax rolls when they are occupied in the middle
of the year or to allow existing homes to be removed from the rolls if they are destroyed by natural disasters.

White’s draft proposal would allow counties to adopt similar ordinances for commercial properties that either
open or are destroyed after the normal property tax assessment date. The measure would be retroactive to the
2011 tax year, so it could benefit businesses affected by the Joplin tornado, or other tornadoes and floods
around the state this year. The taxes would be prorated for the period when the business was not open.

White calls it a matter of fairness.

“This is real economic stimulus right here to keep jobs,” White said in an interview Wednesday. “Not only is it
fair, it’s a good economic stimulus to our town.”

He said he hasn’t talked with anyone who doesn’t like the plan.

Among those cheering the news were Ray and Terri Malcom, whose Kids Korner Day Care Center at 26th Street
and Wall Avenue was destroyed on May 22.

Ray Malcom said in that an instant, their sole source of income was gone.

“Our income went down to zero,” he said by phone Wednesday. “We are a mom and pop business, literally.
When that was destroyed, our income went with it.”

He said they plan to rebuild in the same location, and the property tax relief would be a big help.

“We need everything we can get right now to rebuild,” he said. “Insurance doesn’t cover everything. A
playground for a day care center is about $100,000. You need every penny you can get.”
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He said the rebuilding will take about three months after it starts at the end of this week or the beginning of next
week.

Also pleased with the news was Carolyn Pendergraft, with Dude’s Daylight Donuts, which was at 2316 S. Main St.
and was destroyed by the tornado. The family also owned adjacent rental properties that the tornado put out of
business.

Pendergraft said the owners plan to rebuild and reopen in the same location, around Thanksgiving or before. She
is grateful for White’s proposal and said she hopes the Legislature sees the benefit.

“Anything we can save will help us,” she said. “It helps any business of any kind, not being able to produce a
product and have an income.”

The tornado damaged about 500 businesses, and waiving their property taxes would save them about $600,000.
That would cost governments and schools the same amount. Nixon already has pledged that the state will
provide up to $1.5 million to Joplin schools to offset lost residential and commercial property tax revenue. White
said he hopes Nixon also will commit to offset lost commercial property taxes to county governments if the
Legislature authorizes those taxes to be waived.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS contributed to this report.

Another issue

STATE REP. BILL WHITE, R-Joplin, said he also wants the federal Environmental Protection Agency to waive a
requirement that the businesses that are rebuilding conduct an expensive wastewater runoff study.
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NIXON REJECTS PROPOSAL FLOATED BY SOME DEMOCRATS TO HIKE
CIGARETTE TAX
By Jo Mannies, Beacon political reporter
Posted 5:16 pm Wed., 8.31.11
As he tours the state stumping for the special session, Gov. Jay Nixon appears keen on keeping it focused on the
economic development proposals -- and the funding mechanisms -- that are to be the primary topics when
legislators convene next week.
And he isn't keen on an alternate funding idea -- increasing the state's cigarette tax -- that is being promoted by
some fellow Democrats in the state House.
"Now is not the time,'' Nixon said, during a news conference after a stop at Solae, a St. Louis-based company that
is developing ways to use soy protein. The firm employs 360 people, and says half of its sales are exports to other
countries.
The governor said his mantra has been "hold the line on taxes'' and he's sticking to it. The way to improve the
state economically, said Nixon, is to create more jhobs.
"If we grow the economy, then the revenues will come up,'' said Nixon, emphasizing that "86 percent of the
state's income comes from sales and income taxes."
But some critics of the economic package contend that it unfairly snags a large chunk of its funding by restricting
the state's tax breaks for low-income housing and ending the tax credit for low-income elderly, disabled and
veterans who rent.
State Rep. Rory Ellinger, D-University City, said in an interview that he is among a group of House Democrats who
believe that it would be fairer to increase Missouri's cigarette tax -- now among the nation's lowest -- to come up
with some of the money needed to pay for the tax incentives sought by business and labor leaders, as well as
Nixon and some Republican legislative leaders.
Increasing Missouri's cigarette tax by 17-cents a pack -- to 34 cents a pack -- would raise at least $74 million a
year, Ellinger said. That's more than the $52 million the state would capture by eliminating the tax break for low-
income renters.
Efforts to increase the state's cigarette tax failed at the ballot box in 2002 and 2006.
Nixon, meanwhile, plans to continue traveling the state the rest of this week promoting the various portions of
the economic development package, which supporters say could create thousands of new jobs.
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PANEL BLASTS HEALTH DEPARTMENT FOR MEDICAID DEBACLE
by Steve Giegerich – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:00 am
The process that landed SynCare LLC a $5.5 million state contract to assess Medicaid patients came under the
microscope Wednesday as lawmakers grilled state officials overseeing what one legislator called a "derailed
train."
Over more than two hours, lawmakers pressed the question of how quickly the state can extricate itself from its
agreement with the Indianapolis-based corporation hired to assess the needs of Missouri's 50,000 home-bound
Medicaid clients.
Addressing the Interim House Committee on Budget Transparency, Missouri Health and Senior Services deputy
director Peter Lyskowski left open the possibility the agency may cut SynCare loose.
"But a decision needs to be based on how providers and clients will be affected by" the termination of the
Indianapolis-based corporation's agreement to assess the needs of home-bound Medicaid patients.
Most committee members seemed to favor sending the company on its way. "At some point you need to stop,"
said Rep. Randy Asbury, R-Higbee. "You can't chase your tail forever."
But the committee seemed equally exasperated over how the state forged its relationship with the corporation
in the first place. Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, contended SynCare isn't totally at fault for the system breakdown.
"This is a huge failure on the part of the department" in awarding the contract, Schatz charged. "We're looking at
the contractor that is failing. I think the department failed."
SynCare has drawn the ire of health care providers and Medicaid clients since its contract took effect in May 19.
They point to myriad problems with call center and service delays, botched interactions with providers and
patients, and overwhelmed SynCare staff. Critics contend SynCare has breached its contract by neglecting to
deliver within 15 workdays the assessments that recipients depend on to receive in-home medical and personal
care.
Lyskowski told the committee that SynCare has recently reduced the backlog of assessments from 2,200 to 267, a
contention disputed by health care providers.
"We didn't call a hearing over a hangnail, said Rep. Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee's Summit. "This is a catastrophic crisis
affecting our most vulnerable citizens. And we need to deal with it on an emergency basis."
SynCare officials have not responded to repeated requests for comment from the Post-Dispatch. In an interview
with The Associated Press on Wednesday, SynCare CEO Stephane DeKemper acknowledged that the company
has fallen short of its standards. But she said the state also shares some responsibility because it grossly
underestimated the amount of work the company would be doing.
DeKemper said state had told the company it could be expected to process 4,400 cases a month, but that it
instead has been inundated with more than 1,000 calls daily, including from clients whose service needs haven't
been updated in as long as five years. The state's estimate of 20 needed employees for its telephone call center
was also off the mark, she said.
"There are problems on both sides," she said. "My company has been portrayed in the wrong light. ... Was the
state prepared to launch this as well? I don't think they were fully prepared."
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Committee members learned the health department and state procurement office were in uncharted territory
when the bid went out for a third-party vendor to conduct the assessments previously carried out by the
providers themselves. In fact, none of the 11 companies responding to the state's call for bids had a track record
as performing Medicaid assessments on a large scale.
The notations on an Office of Administration report issued prior to the awarding of the contract showed that
SynCare had presented "a model that was just not good enough," said Committee Chairman Ryan Silvey, R-
Kansas City.
Renee Slusher, deputy commissioner and general counsel for the Office of Administration, said the agency
reports always reflect the "negatives and positives" of potential vendors.
"Yes, there were risks involved in the process" of selecting SynCare, Slusher acknowledged. "We recognize that.
But we had to pick one of the vendors and give it a try."
The selection process, legislators learned, has resulted in the health department currently employing 33 workers
to undertake tasks that SynCare is contractually obligated to perform.
The department stepped in out of concern for Medicaid clients in mid-August as it became increasingly clear
SynCare — which laid off 29 employees earlier in the month — could not meet the demand of backlogged case
assessments and extended call center wait times.
Rep. John Cauthorn questioned the decision to place state workers on third party vendor jobs.
"If we were to hire a contractor to build a road, I'm not sure we'd call MoDOT out to do it," said Cauthorn, R-
Mexico.
Silvey, noting the health department has yet to impose monetary penalties on SynCare, said the practice raises
accountability issues.
He asked Lyskowski whether the health department has yet to address how, if or when SynCare will reimburse
the state treasury for the work agency employees are doing on behalf of the corporation.
"There is a time when the taxpayers will be made whole," Lyskowski promised. "It just won't be today."
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COMMITTEE MEMBERS CALL FOR END TO SYNCARE CONTRACT
September 1, 2011
Missouri News Horizon - Posted by: Dick Aldrich
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Several Members of the House of Representatives’ Budget Transparency Committee
think it’s time to cut ties with a state contractor that’s had trouble keeping up with the flow of Medicaid
recipients and their home care needs.
Syncare, an Indiana-based health care company won a $5.5 million contract to do business with the state in
January. The company was supposed to start serving Medicaid consumers in May of this year, but the company
apparently has become overwhelmed with its mission to assess the eligibility of Medicaid recipients for a variety
of home health care needs.
In recent weeks, Medicaid recipients have become increasingly vocal about the lack of service provided by the
company. Many complain that wait times on phone can run up to eight hours. Others claim that their cases have
not been acted upon in months.
Officials with the Department of Health and Senior Services admit there are problems with Syncare’s
performance. Assistant Department Director Peter Lyskowski told the committee that on Aug. 18, the
department started reassigning personnel to answer phone calls that overflow from Syncare. Lyskowski said
there are now a total of 33 full- and part-time employees in the department who are working to alleviate the
backlog of Syncare cases.
The third party contractor was brought in under a state law that allows for private contractors to do business
with the state in order to save money. Estimates of the funds that were supposed to be saved by hiring Syncare
ran between $1.3 million and $3 million.
But House Budget Committee Chair Ryan Silvey and others say there were warning signs about the company that
the state agency should have seen. Silvey said the company had no previous experience handling this kind of
work. He also questioned health department officials about a bid of $5.5 million Syncare made for the contract
when the state’s own estimate of the cost of the program was $11.4 million.
The health department replied that the task required of the bidders had never been tried before anywhere in the
country, and that the department was bound by the state’s policy of accepting the “best responsible and lowest”
bidder.
“I think the department has failed here, miserably,” said Rep. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan. “We’ve awarded a contract
to a company that is failing at it, but I say the department is failing right now.”
Lyskowski told the committee his staff is doing the best it can in a tough situation. Silvey pressed Lyskowski about
the department’s response to Syncare and about fines that are written into the state’s contract for non-
performance.
“There will come a time when we will make sure that taxpayers are made whole,” said Lyskowski. “But not today,
because at this point our number one goal is to make sure that the services are delivered timely and
appropriately, and if that takes state staff supplementing Syncare staff, then that’s what we have to do.”
Lyskowski said the department has sent Syncare a letter threatening sanctions if performance goals aren’t met. A
response that some members of the committee said was not urgent enough.
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One member of the committee who was not so quick to call for the end of the Syncare contract was Rep. Chris
Kelly, D-Columbia. He said the approach taken by the health department with the hiring of Syncare was new and
innovative. He said the committee should not be too quick to “throw the baby out with the bath water.”
“When you try something this new, and this innovative and this big, it is not completely unlikely that at some
point the train’s going to run off the tracks for some period of time,” Kelly said.
While Silvey agrees the approach is new and innovative, he said something has to be done about the situation
and quickly.
“If we’re still talking about this in January, I’m not going to be real happy with the department and I think that
message is going to have to get across.”
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WOODY VS. SOMMER IN 15TH DISTRICT
Parties select candidates for Nov. 8 special election
By Russell Korando – Suburban Journals
Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 3:15 pm
Democrat Paul Woody and Republican Chrissy Sommer will square off in the Nov. 8 special election for the 15th
District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives.
The St. Charles County Democratic Central Committee nominated Woody, 32, on Saturday. The St. Charles
County Republican Central Committee selected Sommer, 45, on Tuesday. Neither has held elective office.
Woody, who worked in the House as director of communications and policy from 2003-05, was the only
candidate seeking the Democratic nomination. The Republican committee nominated Sommer ahead of
candidates Matt Ehlen and Carl Maus. Sommer is a member of the committee and cast a vote.
The 15th District has lacked representation since former state Rep. Sally Faith resigned from the House after
winning St. Charles' mayoral election in April, defeating then-incumbent Mayor Patti York.
Gov. Jay Nixon on Aug. 19 called for the special election in the 15th District, which includes part of St. Charles and
some areas south of the city. Because the election will occur in an odd-numbered year, the state will pick up the
estimated $70,000 cost. Sommer and Woody have until Sept. 28 to file their candidacies in Jefferson City.
Woody lost to Faith in last November's election in the 15th District. This is Sommer's first political campaign.
"I believe I gave the best presentation. I was clear on my issues," Sommer said Tuesday night. "I probably meshed
the best with the panel with how they see the issues, too."
Woody said he ran for the seat in 2010 to show voters he was a serious candidate. He thinks that experience and
his three years of working as a lawyer will be effective tools as a legislator.
"The party united behind me when the seat opened up," Woody said. "It was nice for everybody to be unified on
the (committee)."
St. Charles County is known for electing Republicans to state offices. All eight of the county's current state
representatives and its two state senators, Scott Rupp in the 2nd District and Tom Dempsey in the 23rd, are
Republicans.
But the 15th District hasn't been locked into electing representatives from one party. Democrat Tom Green held
the seat for two terms before losing to Faith in 2006.
"I really want to ensure our state grapples with the economic climate, not reducing the tools we have to aid in
economic growth," Woody said. "In St. Charles we're facing a critical time. We've had outstanding growth in
terms of population and business. But if we don't take the right steps now, St. Charles might not see that growth
in the future. I'd like to help provide the financial tools necessary for business to succeed."
Sommer said she is vice president of her family's company and has worked for the business for 30 years. Her
husband, Mike Sommer, is treasurer of the Republicans' 15th District Committee and president of the Francis
Howell Board of Education.
"I have hands-on training on how to write bills, how to speak in front of the legislators," Sommer said. "(Maus
and Ehlen) were both very qualified, and I think it was a hard decision for the panel."
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Jon Bennett, a member of the Republican Central Committee, said the nomination could have gone any of the
three candidates' way, and that Sommer's comments resonated more personally with the committee. Bennett
said past legislative experience wasn't a primary prerequisite for selecting a candidate.
"We don't really look for that," Bennett said. "What we look for more is who's going to be able to hit the ground
running and toward what goal are they running. All three had similar goals and ideals, and the best part about it
is they all committed to supporting the victorious candidate and that will show solidarity in the race in two
months."
On a Facebook page promoting Woody as the Democratic candidate, St. Charles County Democratic Chairman
Morton Todd said Woody demonstrated his willingness to work with anyone and has the best interests of
Missouri at heart, regardless of party affiliation.
Whichever candidate wins in November would take office in January and have only a few months to work on
legislation. The seat will be up for election to a two-year term in November 2012.
Woody said he wants to protect seniors from unfair taxes and recruit corporations to locate in the area.
"As a homeowner, our property taxes are significantly higher than in St. Louis County and on par with St. Louis,"
Woody said. "That presents a challenge to seniors on fixed incomes."
Sommer said she would work with Faith to resolve the issues people in the 15th District had before she vacated
the office.
"I am pro life," Sommer said. "I am for watching the government and making sure it doesn't grow out of control.
And watch our spending. We have to have a balanced budget, but there's always ways to reduce spending and
save the taxpayers money."
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EDUCATION CHIEF MEETS WITH DISTRICT, CIVIC LEADERS
By JOE ROBERTSON - The Kansas City Star
Posted on Wed, Aug. 31, 2011 02:51 PM
Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro came to Kansas City today to see for herself how well the school
district is weathering the sudden resignation of Superintendent John Covington.
“I do think it is impossible for any district to make improvements without a united team of the superintendent
and the governing board,” she said after meeting with top district officials and civic leaders.
Her impressions are critical because her office will likely be making a recommendation on Kansas City’s
accreditation status to the state school board this fall.
Her outlook could also carry a lot of weight with lawmakers who could well be considering bills again aimed at
speeding up the potential for state takeover or dissolution of the district.
She still believes, she said, that the district is implementing a strong transition plan and moving toward its goals,
but the new concern of a possible “vacuum in leadership” has added to concerns that student performance
dipped last year.
Anticipation of Nicastro’s visit fueled closed-door board meetings with extra urgency in the past week as the
district worked to prove it is moving forward in solid step toward its mission despite the heavy dose of turmoil in
Covington’s exit.
The board Tuesday night determined that it had a plan for leadership and could let Covington go now rather than
wait until Sept. 23, when his resignation would have taken effect.
The board elevated Chief of Staff Chace Ramey to acting superintendent and has made an offer to a person, not
yet named, to become interim superintendent.
And Airick Leonard West stepped aside as board president, but is remaining on the board.
“We want to show that change does not necessarily equate to instability on the board side or the administrative
side,” acting board president Derek Richey said earlier today.
The board wants Nicastro, and the community, to see that the district is keeping its focus on its transformation
plan, Richey said, and that the board is carrying on a commitment to good governance.
Nicastro said she is confident the board will appoint an interim superintendent expeditiously.
The Kansas City School District currently is provisionally accredited, a status it has maintained since 2002. But the
district’s time for showing it can keep that status is running short.
The district has been collaborating with the state for more than two years on a turnaround plan to move toward
full accreditation, but the district is due for a status recommendation under the current cycle of state
accreditation reviews of school districts. That timeline has not changed, Nicastro said.
Based on its performance report scorecard alone, the district would become unaccredited, but the decision
ultimately rests with the state school board, she said.
If the district were to be classified as unaccredited, current law gives the district two full school years to regain
accreditation status before the district would “lapse” and the state would intervene. The education department
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has recommended in past legislative sessions that the two-year requirement be removed so the state would
have flexibility in determining when or whether to take action.
Nicastro said she was encouraged that community leaders she met earlier today seem united in trying to support
the schools. She wants to continue talks with the district to help see to it that progress she had seen is not
jeopardized.
“It’s going to be very important for all the adults to come around that single focus,” she said.
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MISSOURI EDUCATION COMMISSIONER VISITS KC
Posted: 08/31/2011, Last Updated: 15 hours and 1 minute ago
By: Chris Hernandez - KSHB
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Missouri Education Commissioner Chris Nicastro met with the executive staff of the Kansas
City Missouri School District and school board members on Wednesday in Kansas City.
Nicastro talked with reporters Wednesday afternoon and said the state is still very disappointed with the
district’s continuing low test scores. That will be the biggest factor when deciding the future of the district’s
accreditation in the next few weeks.
Nicastro said she’s mostly happy with how the school board has handled Dr. John Covington’s resignation. She
said it is good the board moved so quickly towards hiring an interim superintendent.
Former superintendent Covington’s name plate was still in place in the board room Wednesday afternoon, but a
district spokeswoman said Covington cleaned out his desk and left the building Wednesday morning.
State lawmakers have also been meeting with Nicastro to talk about possibly changing the state law that
provides a two year grace period before a state takeover. Some lawmakers want to be able to do that faster.
Nicastro will also attend a closed school board meeting at 5 p.m.
Her visit comes one week after the surprise announcement that Covington would be leaving the district.
Since then, Covington took a job in Michigan, board member Arthur Benson resigned, and then said he would
stay, and board president Airick West stepped down from that leadership position, but is staying on the board.
Derek Richey is now acting board president, and Dr. Chace Ramey has been named acting superintendent while
an unnamed candidate for interim superintendent weighs an offer.
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MISSOURI'S EDUCATION COMMISSIONER SAYS CHANGES ARE
NEEDED
Tess Koppelman - FOX 4 News
5:46 p.m. CDT, August 31, 2011
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— Commissioner Chris Nicastro says the recent school district chaos and poor achievement
scores don't look good. Nicastro who is the Education Commission for Missouri spent the day meeting with city
leaders and is meeting with the school board on Wednesday night.

"I think anytime folks in public positions take their battles to the public it doesn't serve their mission very well,"
Nicastro said.
Missouri's Education Commissioner says she's disappointed about what she calls adult problems in the KCMO
School District.

"If we all keep in mind what's best for the children and their long term success, we'll be much better off and we'll
make good decisions," Nicastro said.

Chris Nicastro says the district appeared to be improving under superintendent John Covington's leadership.
Having a stable leadership is one of the things she says the state will look at when it evaluates the district for
accreditation.

"Until last week we thought we had stable leadership in place in the superintendent seat," she said. "Obviously
that's no longer the case."

That alone wouldn't cause the state to drop the district's current provisional accreditation. They'll also look at
student achievement. Even that isn't looking food for the district.

"I think it's clear performance on its face has not improved," she said.

If the district loses accreditation, it has two years to change things around or else the state could take over. The
only thing that could speed the process along is a change in the law.

Governor Jay Nixon says law makers are keeping an eye on the district's troubles. He has any discussion of a state
takeover would not happen in next week's special session.

"The bottom line is kids got up and went to school," said Gov. Jay Nixon. "There's teachers teaching and we
shouldn't do anything except support those teachers."

The state report about the KCMO School District will be done by September 16. The state's board will meet a few
days later and could vote then on KCMO's accreditation status.
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LEAKS FROM AMEREN TOXIC WASTE POND IN LABADIE STIR FEARS
BY JEFFREY TOMICH – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:07 am
LABADIE • Since 1992, a coal ash pond next to the Ameren power plant here has been 'seeping," as the company
puts it, leaking into the surrounding area, according to state records.
Put another way, one of the plant's two ponds storing toxic coal waste has been hemorrhaging up to 35 gallons a
minute for two decades.
There's no evidence the leaks have fouled the groundwater or the drinking water of nearby homes. And critics
say that's precisely the problem — neither the state nor the company has ever tested the area for
contamination.
"The government hasn't required Ameren to do anything," said Maxine Lipeles, co-director of the Washington
University Interdisciplinary Environmental Law Clinic, which represents the Labadie Environmental Organization
in opposing a new, 400-acre coal ash landfill at the site. "On the other hand, Ameren has known about it. ... And
as far as we know, they haven't done any testing in the area."
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the agency charged with regulating coal ash ponds and enforcing
the Clean Water Act in the state, isn't required to monitor groundwater at the site under current state laws. But
it has legal authority to do so under the plant's water permit and hasn't — despite learning of the leaks from
Ameren 19 years ago, according to utility filings with the DNR.
What's more, the water discharge permit for the state's largest coal-fired power plant, a hulking 2,300-megawatt
facility, expired 12 years ago. Ameren applied for a permit renewal in 1998, but the department has yet to finish
its review. Yet under state law, the plant can legally continue operating under the existing 1994 permit.
DNR officials declined to be interviewed about the leaking ash ponds. Spokeswoman Renee Bungart said only
that the agency has not monitored the site because the law doesn't require it. The department has required
groundwater monitoring at ash disposal sites since 1997 and is now taking a new look at how it regulates older
coal waste impoundments.
Bungart also said the agency has asked Ameren to resubmit its water permit application. She provided no
timeline for completing the application and no reason for the 12-year delay except to say that 'some permits are
more complex than others."
REASONS FOR WORRY
Members of the Labadie Environmental Organization, who have opposed the new landfill proposal for a variety
of reasons, say they fear the worst in light of dozens of coal ash contamination cases across the country.
At many sites, trace metals in coal ash including lead, mercury, arsenic and selenium have been found in
groundwater at levels that exceed drinking water standards. Contamination at those sites was discovered only
because regulators required groundwater monitoring.
Most recently, the Tennessee Valley Authority Office of Inspector General reported that coal ash has
contaminated groundwater at eight of nine sites where tests were conducted in Tennessee, Kentucky and
Alabama.
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In 2007, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report identified 63 sites in 26 states where the water was
contaminated by heavy metals from coal ash dumps. That was more than a year before an estimated 5.4 million
cubic yards of coal ash sludge escaped an impoundment in Kingston, Tenn. The sludge spread across 300 acres,
and 3 million cubic yards spilled into a river.
The disaster compelled an EPA review of coal ash disposal sites across the country, and ultimately a proposed
rule to regulate coal waste disposal.
Since the EPA's 2007 report, advocacy groups including Earthjustice and the Environmental Integrity Project have
identified dozens more sites that they say should be added to the list of damage cases.
Among the contaminated coal ash disposal sites is Ameren Illinois' Venice power plant, just across the Mississippi
River on the Madison-St. Clair County line. The plant burned coal until the mid-1970s, when it switched to oil.
The plant was subsequently converted to run on natural gas, but the legacy of its coal ash pits, which still hold 1.4
million tons of coal waste, remains.
The state of Illinois has required groundwater monitoring at Venice since 1996, and data from a network of 17
monitoring wells revealed levels of iron, arsenic, boron and manganese that exceeded drinking water standards.
In Labadie, environmental organization members cite similarities between Venice and Labadie that they say
underscore the need for monitoring. The ash ponds at Venice, constructed in the 1950s, are unlined like the
leaking pond at Labadie. The Venice ponds sit in the same kind alluvial soil — a fine mix of silt, sand and clay
that's an easy pathway for contamination to migrate via water.
The Illinois EPA has approved a plan submitted by Ameren to cap the Venice ash ponds to prevent storm water
from serving as a carrier for contaminants. The plan also includes a groundwater management zone with
monitoring wells to ensure pollution doesn't spread further.
Ameren and the state say the contamination found at Venice can't specifically be tied to the ash ponds because
the long history of industrial waste being discharged in the area. Further, it poses no risk to human health
because nearby towns have passed ordinances prohibiting the use of groundwater for drinking, they say.
The same isn't true at Labadie, they say. In fact, a report prepared by Robert Criss, a Washington University
professor, identified several dozen private wells along the bluffs near Labadie Bottoms that could be at risk of
contamination. Contaminants could infiltrate from shallow alluvial soils to the deeper Ozark aquifer tapped by
residents for drinking water, according to the report.
50,000 GALLONS A DAY
The waste is created from burning coal to create electricity. At Labadie's ash ponds, it's composed of fly ash, a
fine, talc-like powder that's captured by filters in the plant's stacks to reduce pollutants released into the air, and
bottom ash, a coarser material that falls to the bottom of coal boilers.
At Labadie, Ameren uses water to wash the waste to unlined ponds west of the plant. There, the waste sinks to
the bottom, and the water drains through a permitted outfall into Labadie Creek and the Missouri River.
One pond, constructed in 1993, has a protective liner. The leaking 154-acre ash pond, which began receiving coal
ash when Labadie began operation in 1970, actually has two leaks, according to information provided by Ameren
to the DNR. The smaller one, flowing at a rate of up to 5 gallons a minute, is near the wastewater outfall and
leaks into the creek. The other leak releases up to 30 gallons a minute on the south side of the pond. Combined,
that's the equivalent of more than 50,000 gallons of water escaping the ponds each day, or nearly 350 million
gallons over 19 years.
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Ameren believes the leaks don't pose an environmental threat. But because of ongoing concerns, and because
the EPA has asked the utility to monitor them, Ameren will make repairs to the ash pond by the end of the year,
said Mike Menne, the utility's vice president of environmental services.
The smaller leak discharges into the creek near the permitted outfall, Menne said. Water from the larger seep is
contained on Ameren property by a raised road bed encircling the plant and preventing any runoff. It will be
repaired by installing a French drain — a trench — that will allow water that escapes the ash pond to drain back.
While 50,000 gallons a day sounds like a lot of water, it's a small fraction of 1 percent of the millions of gallons
discharged from the ash ponds into Labadie Creek daily, Menne said. And it's unlikely that contaminants would
reach deep enough or spread far enough in the direction of area homes and farms to pose a health risk, he said.
Lipeles disputes that. While the groundwater table is shallow — according to an Ameren study submitted to the
DNR as part of its effort to win approval for the new coal ash landfill — it doesn't mean that any contamination
hasn't migrated further. Besides, said Lipeles, there's an easy way to find out — test the groundwater.
"Let them do a thorough analysis of the groundwater at the site, and characterize it and present that to the
public and say, 'See, you have nothing to worry about,'" he said.
RULES AT ISSUE
None of the contaminated coal ash sites identified by the EPA or environmental groups are located in Missouri.
Critics say that may point more to lax state regulations or poor enforcement than a lack of actual contamination.
The loose regulatory environment underscores the need for federal rules that give states less leeway to ignore
potential problems, advocates argue.
"There is a direct relationship between how many sites we've identified and the presence and absence of
regulations," said Lisa Evans, an attorney at Earthjustice, which earlier this month released a report identifying
Missouri as among a dozen states with the weakest regulations for coal ash disposal.
Coal ash disposal sites are regulated by the DNR's Solid Waste Program. The Water Protection Program oversees
water discharges.
Missouri imposed new restrictions on coal ash disposal sites beginning in 1997, treating them the same as
municipal waste landfills that require liners and groundwater monitoring, Bungart said.
More recently, the state has given new thought to how older coal waste dumps are regulated because, as air
quality rules become more stringent, pollutants such as mercury that are stripped from air emissions end up in
the coal waste that's left behind.
For the first time in April, the state agency made groundwater monitoring a condition of a water discharge
permit issued to a coal-fired power plant in Missouri's Bootheel.
Labadie environmental advocates say recent regulatory moves don't explain why the Department of Natural
Resources — knowing of the leaks at Labadie — hasn't conducted groundwater tests there.
The group, along with other environmental advocates, continues to press the EPA to enact the tougher of two
proposed coal ash rules under consideration. The agency was supposed to make a rule final this year but instead
has delayed action until 2012 or 2013.
The more stringent of the proposed rules would designate coal ash as a hazardous waste and subject to federal
safety standards. The other, favored by utilities, wouldn't require a hazardous designation for coal ash and would
leave it up to states to decide whether to adopt EPA recommendations.
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Evans and other environmental advocates fear states will ignore the recommendations unless they're required by
law.
"If it's not mandatory, the states usually say their regs are adequate," she said.
All of this informs the debate over the proposed ash landfill in Franklin County, Labadie environmental advocates
say.
Ameren says the proposed landfill would meet the anticipated federal standards. That material will be stored
dry, not in a sludge pond, with just enough water added to make the ash harden like concrete. It will be
protected by multiple liners and a leachate collection system to contain any leaks. The site will also be protected
by a berm that will be 3 feet higher than the level floodwater reached in 1993.
That the leaks were allowed to exist for almost two decades without testing for contamination displays Ameren's
inability to responsibly manage its coal waste facilities and the state's inability to effectively oversee such
operations, Lipeles said. The inaction should raise red flags for Franklin County commissioners, who are weighing
land use regulations that would accommodate coal waste landfills.
It also makes Lipeles question how effectively state regulators would evaluate Ameren's application. "It raises
huge concerns," he said.
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NEW LAW BANS SYNTHETIC DRUGS
The ban on bath salts and types of synthetic marijuana went into effect Sunday night.
By Lizzie Johnson – The Maneater
Published Aug. 30, 2011
A statewide ban on bath salts and types of synthetic marijuana went into effect Aug. 28 at midnight, making it
the second time Missouri has targeted the drugs.
The new legislation makes the possession and sale of substances containing synthetic cannabinoid and any
analogues, homologues, isomers, esters, ethers and salt, commonly known as K2 or K3, a Schedule I illegal drug,
according to a news release.
“I know the retail outlets were selling quite a bit of synthetics in Boone County,” Boone County Sheriffs
Department Detective Tom O’Sullivan said. “I’m sure other communities are experiencing the same situation.
They aren’t just passing the law because of something that is going on in Columbia. This has been a problem
statewide.”
At least 38 states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas have placed similar restrictions on the substances,
according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“We enforce it the way we enforce other drug and alcohol laws,” MU Police Department spokesman Brian
Weimer said. “We have not made any arrests on it yet.”
The synthetics, which mimic illegal drugs such as cocaine or marijuana, tend to induce psychotic effects. The
American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that through the first several months of this year, there
were more than 2,700 cases of people falling ill from the synthetic drugs.
“We have had numerous incidents of people who have ingested bath salts and experienced severe medical
problems,” O’Sullivan said. “We had a case a couple weeks ago of a man who was discharging a firearm in his
house at imaginary people that he thought were present and trying to do him harm. We have taken a number of
people in for psychiatric evaluations that were under the influence of these drugs.”
The law not only aids in preventing drug abuse, but also provides law officials with a tool to eliminate possible
loopholes for manufacturers.
The umbrella legislation outlaws any cannabinoid compound that is developed in the future and eliminates the
need to seek new legislation each time a different variation of the drug is developed.
“This legislation was flawed in that every time a new manufacturer would just come up with a different recipe to
get around the law,” O’Sullivan said. “I’ve been at this game long enough to know that the people who are
making money off of this kind of thing are not going to pack up and move away, but I do think the law is
beneficial.”
The law also makes the possession of the drugs a more serious crime, with possession penalties similar to those
for marijuana.
Posession of 35 grams of synthetic cannabinoid is a Class C felony and possession of less than 35 grams is a Class
A misdemeanor. Possession of bath salts, no matter the quantity, is a Class C felony.
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“I know we are going to enforce this law quite vigorously,” O’Sullivan said. “The law just went into effect last
night. If we catch anyone selling or using it, they are subject to arrest.”
The implications of the newly implemented law will be seen in upcoming months.
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MISSOURINET

BUSINESS AND LABOR GROUPS JOIN MISSOURI CHAMBER IN
BACKING MADE IN MISSOURI JOBS PACKAGE
by Mike Lear on September 1, 2011
in Business,Legislature,Politics & Government
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and other business and labor groups support the Made in Missouri jobs
package to be debated in next week’s special legislative session.
Chamber President Dan Mehan says Made in Missouri combines several pieces his organization supports:
MOSIRA, Compete Missouri, Aerotropolis and incentives for Data Centers. He calls the package a multi-faceted
approach that is fiscally responsible.
Missouri AFL-CIO President Hugh McVey says the Compete Missouri component includes business incentives and
training program updates to bring high-paying, middle-class supporting jobs that will benefit Missouri families.
St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association President Dick Fleming says the Aerotropolis trade hub
incentives would create tens of thousands of construction jobs in their first 8 years, and 11-12 thousand
permanent jobs over their 15 year life. He says estimates place its economic benefit at over 17 billion dollars
over 15 years.
Other groups joining the Chamber in supporting Made in Missouri are the Springfield Area Chamber of
Commerce and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
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BLOG ZONE
NIXON: JOPLIN BUSINESS PROPERTY TAXES COULD MAKE SPECIAL
SESSION AGENDA
BY JASON HANCOCK – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 9:33 am
JEFFERSON CITY • A property tax break for businesses that were destroyed when one of the nation’s deadliest
tornadoes ripped through Joplin earlier this year could be included in the special legislative session, Gov. Jay
Nixon said Wednesday.
State Rep. Bill White, R-Joplin, has been working for months on legislation that would exempt businesses from
paying property taxes on buildings destroyed by a natural disaster. Under current law those business owners
must continue to pay taxes on buildings even though they are unable to generate any revenue from them, White
said.
“We want people to come back to Joplin and rebuild,” he said. “This is about fairness, since you shouldn’t have to
pay property taxes on a building that is no longer there. But it’s also about economic development and getting
the Joplin business community up and running.”
For business owners in Joplin, the change would mean they would pay property taxes for the months before the
tornado struck but would be exempt while they attempt to rebuild, White said. Once a business is back up and
running it would return to the property tax rolls.
The tax exemption already applies to residential property, allowing homeowners to be removed from tax rolls
when their residence is destroyed by a natural disaster. White said expanding that exemption to businesses
makes sense.
“People are trying to rebuild, and we’re asking them to pay taxes while they can’t make revenue,” White said.
“They shouldn’t be paying for county services they aren’t using.”
Nixon said Wednesday that he has been meeting with lawmakers from the area about the idea and could not
rule out including a property tax bill in the upcoming special session scheduled to begin next week.
“We’re working through the details,” Nixon said, adding that he is not opposed to the idea and believes “it’s got a
solid shot” of making the special session agenda.
The county won’t be able to absorb the loss of revenue resulting from exempting so many businesses from
property taxes, White said, so the state would have to step in to fill the funding gap. Around 250 businesses were
destroyed when the tornado struck May 22, White said, creating an estimated cost of loss revenue for the county
of around $600,000, when destroyed homes and businesses are removed from the tax rolls.
That cost would go down if businesses get back on their feet faster, he said.
Last month, Nixon pledged to cover around $1.5 million in lost revenue for public schools in Joplin.
Nixon said several details are still being worked out, but if the legislature does pass the exemption it would likely
apply to any business around the state, not just in Joplin.
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“If it’s good policy then it should apply beyond Joplin,” he said.
In order to help business owners impacted by the Joplin tornado, the change would have to be made before the
end of this year, White said. If the bill doesn’t make the special session agenda, he said he would still push it
during the regular session in January in order to assist victims of future natural disasters.
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CANDIDATES FOR MISSOURI SUPREME COURT FACE PUBLIC
QUESTIONING
BY JASON HANCOCK – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 7:03 pm
JEFFERSON CITY • A sparse crowd turned out Wednesday to watch candidates for an open seat on the Missouri
Supreme Court face questions from the judicial nominating commission, the first time the interview process has
been conducted in public.
Interviewees took turns answering questions from a panel made up of three lawyers chosen by the Missouri Bar,
three citizens selected by the governor, and Chief Justice Richard Teitelman. Avoiding controversial topics,
questions centered on subjects like legal careers and how their experience -- both profesionally and personally--
would influence their decisions if they were chosen to be on the state’s highest court.
Judges in most Missouri counties are voted onto the bench in partisan elections. But in urban areas and for
regional appeals courts and the Supreme Court, the state uses a merit-based, nonpartisan method to select
judges. One applicant who interviewed Wednesday, St. Peters attorney Richard Gartner, took the opportunity to
praise the state’s merit-based judicial selection method for “focusing on credentials.”
“These positions need the most qualified people, and the only way we are going to get them is to select them like
this,” said Gartner, who has run unsuccessfully three times for judicial positions. He went on to joke that he
appreciated the process even more because he is "such a bad politician."
In discussing her view that justices on the Supreme Court should be consensus builders, Lisa White Hardwick –
who serves as chief judge on Missouri Western District Court of Appeals -- said having a diversity of perspective
and a diversity of background on the court is important.
The commission pointed out early on that there is currently no representative from the state’s southern judicial
district on the Supreme Court. The only interviewee from that district is Timothy Cisar, an attorney with Cisar
Law Firm in Lake Ozark. Cisar is also the only interviewee that was nominated by a citizen.
Interviews will continue Thursday morning. Once complete, the commission with deliberate in private and by
days end will send three names to Gov. Jay Nixon, who will have 60 days to choose the next Supreme Court
justice from that group.
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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor
GUEST COMMENTARY: GOV. NIXON CLEARLY WAS OVERREACHING
HIS AUTHORITY
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - By Tom Schweich
 Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:00 am
I read with dismay the Post-Dispatch Aug. 30 editorial accusing me of caring more about my budget than the
recovery of Joplin. The editorial claims that I filed a lawsuit against the governor because I "want[] the court and
the public to believe that [my] budget is more important than helping a city rebuild from one of the worst natural
disasters in our state's history." The editorial is dishonest, and it will serve to further erode the public's
confidence in this newspaper.
Here are the facts: In accordance with my statutory obligation as state auditor, my office began a regularly
scheduled audit of Gov. Jay Nixon's office in June of this year. Our seasoned audit staff, with decades of
experience working in this office for both Republican and Democratic auditors, informed me that Governor
Nixon's budget director could not provide any accounting data to support the over $170 million in withholding
for programs such as Parents as Teachers, Bright Flight Scholarship, Domestic Violence Grants, Office of the Child
Advocate and Medicaid. There were no invoices, estimates, analyses or other calculations. It appeared this
number was simply plucked from thin air.
Moreover, it appeared that the governor had exceeded his legal authority by: (1) withholding these funds before
the start of the fiscal year and without evidence that actual revenues are less than revenue estimates, and (2)
reallocating the withheld funds in violation of the separation of powers. Both are violations of the express
language of the Missouri Constitution. I sued only after the governor overtly rejected my recommendation that
he work with the Legislature to resolve this issue.
The amount withheld from my office was one-third of 1 percent of the total withheld. More than $130 million of
the withheld funds are from education-related programs, including Parents as Teachers, Bright Flight Scholarship,
Access Missouri Scholarship, Community Colleges/Linn State, four-year institutions, Math and Science Tutoring,
Early Grade Literacy, Scholars and Fine Arts Academy, school busing, Missouri Research and Education Network
and Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority projects. What happens to the children whose parents cannot
afford a car or whose work schedules conflict with school schedules if there is not enough money for school
buses? What happens to students who now cannot afford to attend college?
While Missouri tries to fight its way out of a recession, the governor is withholding funds from the Missouri
Federal and State Technology Partnership Program, which helps small Missouri companies successfully compete
for contracting dollars. Many of the withholds target some of the most vulnerable members of our citizenry,
including abused and neglected children, victims of domestic violence and senior citizens. The governor is
withholding money appropriated to the Office of the Child Advocate, Domestic Violence Grants, Alzheimer's
Grants, the Area Agency on Aging Grants and Medicaid. That is my concern.
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I care about Joplin, both personally and as an elected official of this state. I have visited the victims, advised their
officials on accounting for disaster relief and personally contributed to the relief efforts. I also care about senior
citizens, students, victims of domestic violence, Medicaid recipients and the tens of thousands of other
Missourians, including the residents of Joplin, who are affected by these withheld funds.
This year, Missouri has suffered unprecedented natural disasters. The victims must be fully compensated. It is
imperative that persons affected by these disasters receive the assistance they need to recover and rebuild.
Disaster recovery will take years, and we need to make sure that sound fiscal practices are implemented so that
Missouri will have the resources to support the recovery and grow economically.
But, even good intentions must be effected lawfully, and there are many lawful ways to accomplish this
objective. Third World dictators often use emergencies as an excuse for suspending the constitution and rule of
law. This happens in Zimbabwe and Honduras, but it should not happen in the United States, and we cannot
allow it to happen in Missouri.
Tom Schweich is the Missouri state auditor.
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OUR VIEW: TIMING IS EVERYTHING
The Joplin Globe
August 31, 2011
On May 22, Joplin gets blasted by an EF-5 tornado that rips out a third of our town. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and a
host of other state officials are on the ground here day after day. Assurances are made, money is promised, and
the governor steps it up like nothing we’ve ever seen before.

On June 27, State Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican, begins an audit of the Democratic governor’s office. He
tells the Globe that he finds $172 million in state withholdings made by Nixon that were backed by “no rhyme
nor reason.”

Those withholdings account for the amount of money Nixon withheld to pay for disaster relief. A large part of it is
going to Joplin. Nixon says his actions are necessary because Missouri’s constitution requires a balanced budget.
Schweich says the way Nixon went about getting funding for Joplin is not constitutional.

On Aug. 19, Schweich sends a formal letter to Nixon challenging his constitutional authority to withhold the funds
appropriated by lawmakers.

On Aug. 26, Schweich files a lawsuit in Cole County alleging Nixon has violated the constitution.

In between the time Schweich sent out his letter and filed the lawsuit, Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who is
making a bid for governor, was cast in the spotlight after a photograph surfaced of him and a former Penthouse
pet. Kinder said he had encountered her recently when he stopped to use the restroom at a bar where she
worked. He said he agreed to her request for the picture, which then showed up accompanying a story about
Kinder frequenting a club where she was an exotic dancer in the 1990s when he was serving in the Missouri
Senate. Kinder said he visited the bar about 10 times before deciding the practice ran counter to his beliefs.

Schweich, in an interview Tuesday with the Globe, brought up Kinder before we did. He said the lawsuit has
absolutely nothing to do with Kinder or politics. Asked if he would have filed the lawsuit had he been working
with a Republican governor, Schweich was emphatic with his answer.

“Absolutely. I sent Nixon a letter about the audit findings and he’s blown me off. I would have done the same
thing if that type of response had come from a Republican governor.”

Schweich, who has investigated organized crime in Afghanistan, the conduct of the U.S. government in
connection with the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidian compound at Waco, Texas, and has served as chief of staff
to three U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations, had to know the backlash he would face when he filed the
lawsuit.

He told the Globe that his lawsuit will not hurt Joplin. He said the money is there and available through other
avenues. In fact, he doesn’t think withholding money for other needs in the state will even be necessary.
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Now it will be up to the courts to decide if Nixon has overstepped the authority that comes with being governor.

We doubt the people who lived in the 7,000 homes destroyed by the tornado are going to care. We doubt the
545 business owners who are trying to get up and running are going to care.

It may turn out that Schweich is right about the process the governor used to find money to pay for Joplin’s
disaster relief.

But his timing couldn’t be more wrong.
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OUR OPINION: DON'T SPLINTER NATION OVER DISASTER AID
By News Tribune
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
In the aftermath of devastating tornadoes, flooding and a hurricane, let’s not balkanize this nation over federal
disaster aid.
Balkanization occurs when a unified whole subdivides into smaller, often hostile, units.
A recent manifestation is the response to the federal government’s decision to freeze some disaster aid to the
Midwest and redirect it to Eastern seaboard states recently impacted by Hurricane Irene.
Bob Josephson, a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said the agency’s Disaster
Relief Fund is depleted to between $800 million and $1 billion.
When that occurs, FEMA shifts its priority to immediate response rather than long-term rebuilding, while
remaining mindful new disasters may occur.
The reallocation is appropriate because the federal agency — as its name implies — focuses on emergencies.
The change will delay long-term rebuilding projects in tornado-devastated Joplin and elsewhere. Specific projects
in Joplin to be placed on hold have not been identified yet.
Individual assistance will continue for victims of tornadoes and other natural disasters. The assistance includes
temporary housing and debris removal.
Missouri officials are disappointed, but disappointment must not escalate to an us-versus-them attitude.
Missouri’s U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill sounded a divisive tone when she said: “I do, candidly, worry because folks
in other parts of the country feel the world revolves around the corridor between Washington and New York
City.”
On a broader scale, some observers expect a political showdown between the Republican-controlled House and
Democratic-controlled Senate when disaster spending is debated in Congress.
We urge all members of Congress to begin putting the needs of the people they represent before the desires of
campaign contributors and special interests.
Natural disasters are non-discriminatory phenomena. Wherever they strike, they leave destruction, anguish and
loss in their wake.
We all are citizens of the United States, and suffering as a result of natural disasters must not become a regional
or political battle that only will intensify the misery.
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NO GOVERNOR'S RACE FOR STEELMAN
Washington Missourian Editorial
Posted: Wednesday, August 31, 2011 6:32 pm | Updated: 8:22 am, Wed Aug 31, 2011.
Sarah Steelman has made it crystal clear that she won’t quit the Republican race for the U.S. Senate. She doesn’t
plan to quit that race to run for governor as some political observers have speculated.
“Absolutely not” she told The Missourian in answer to an editorial in the weekend edition that reported on the
speculation of her switching from the Senate race to the race for governor. She said she’s running for the Senate
period.
Rep. Kevin Elmer, Nixa, a Republican, raised a question about Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, Republican, being a strong
candidate for governor in 2012 against incumbent Jay Nixon, a Democrat. Elmer is concerned about recent
revelations about Kinder visiting strip joints many years ago. Kinder has not officially announced for governor,
but is expected to run. The speculation was tied to the fact that Elmer is related to Steelman’s husband.
Elmer denied his lack of support for Kinder had anything to do with his relationship to Steelman’s husband. The
question was raised whether Elmer was breaking ground for Steelman to switch to the governor’s race if the
Kinder campaign falls apart.
Steelman has ended the speculation about which office she will run for, and she’s emphatic about it. She wants
to be the Republican candidate to face incumbent Democrat Sen. Claire McCaskill next year.
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EDITORIAL: NIXON FOCUSES ON WRONG FUNDING ISSUE FOR
HIGHER EDUCATION
By the Editorial Board – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:00 am
Upon hearing Gov. Jay Nixon announce his proposal to change university funding to a more "performance-based"
model last month, a University of Missouri faculty member used an unfortunate phrase to describe the move.
"It's kind of like No Child Left Behind for higher education," Leona Rubin told the Columbia Daily Tribune.
This aptly describes what is the wrong solution to a very serious problem.
Mr. Nixon seeks to recast what has been a decade-long decline in state support for higher education into a
discussion about how to rethink the process by which the state pays for education.
In choosing a performance-based model, in which any amount of new funding over the previous year would be
determined by a new task force using a series of standards yet to be developed, Mr. Nixon is recycling an old
model previously used in Missouri and tried in other states as well.
"Pay for performance" sounds good. But like the failed No Child Left Behind program, it will be an utter failure if
the promise of more accountability fails to come with the funds to do the job. And it could even reduce quality if
colleges and universities feel financial pressure to dumb-down their standards, as happened in K-12 schools
desperate to meet NCLB standards.
Just a week after Mr. Nixon made his announcement, the state revealed some distressing news: Access Missouri,
the state's only need-based college scholarship program, has barely enough money to offer the statutory
minimum of $1,000 per year to students who qualify.
If Mr. Nixon wants to make a difference, this is where his focus should be.
A thousand bucks is less than half of what lawmakers intended when they created the program. It's a symptom
of a far bigger problem with Missouri's approach to higher education. Because of a decline in state funding,
fewer poor and middle-class students can afford to go to college.
"We know what the problem is," state Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, told us. "The state has failed higher
education."
The state's flagship public university, the University of Missouri in Mr. Kelly's hometown, now charges the
second-highest tuition among sister Big 12 schools at more than $8,500 per year. Tuition at state schools that
should be affordable for Missourians to attend has skyrocketed as state support has declined.
In 1991, for instance, the state provided 64 percent of the overall funding for costs related to running the
University of Missouri system, while tuition accounted for 27 percent. Today, those numbers are upside down,
with struggling parents and students paying 48 percent of the costs, and the state providing only 36 percent. The
other revenue, such as from endowments and private donations, has remained relatively stable.
No plan to address college costs can succeed until the Democratic governor and the Republican-controlled
Legislature show the political will to increase funding.
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The sad reality is this: Lawmakers are willing to find $300 million to fund a risky economic development venture
that might not work, but they are unwilling to invest the same amount of money in a proven long-term strategy
for revving the state's economic engine.
Missouri's middle class needs relief, and its businesses of the present and future need a well-educated
workforce.
The money is out there. It's time to muster the political courage to find it and spend it in the right places.
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WITHHOLDING FUNDING TWISTS THE KNIFE INTO HIGHER
EDUCATION
By The Maneater Staff
Published Aug. 30, 2011
It’s that time of year again — the time to make cuts to higher education.
Oh wait, that’s like a year-round thing now. Our mistake.
Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich sued Gov. Jay Nixon Aug. 26 for unconstitutionally withholding $170 million
of state funding from 45 different programs that money had been allocated to for the year. The issue was not so
much a matter of the funds being held, but Schweich claims that the money was not approved by the state
legislature, among other infractions he said the governor made disregarding the Missouri Constitution.
The $170 million in question was withheld from these programs in order to fund disaster clean-up in places like
Joplin, in Missouri’s catastrophic spring storm season. We are by no means saying those areas do not deserve
support; restoring them to their former glory should be one of the state’s top priorities.
But that’s what the magical idea of a “rainy day fund” is for: random occurrences that are going to cost the state
a large sum of money to fix, like natural disaster clean-up. That money should not be taken from places it has
been allocated to fund, such as higher education and other state programs.
The rainy day fund had $527.4 million in 2010, according to a 2011 report by the Missouri Budget Project. It’s
safe to say taking a $170 million to fund something as important as disaster response would not have been a
problem.
And then come the strings associated with this fund that is meant for the state to fall back on in times of need.
One of the main issues with this fund, which various legislators as well as the Missouri Budget Project have
pointed out over the years, is that money removed from the rainy day fund must be repaid within the next three
years after it was borrowed, interest and all. It worried state legislators that this would not be possible due to
slow state economic growth from the rough economy, so they just decided not to tap into the fund at all to fund
disaster clean-up. Instead, they decided to tap into higher education and other statewide programs.
How sweet of them.
Obviously there’s a problem with the regulations around this fund if it’s going to be deemed “untouchable” in
times of need, like cleaning up after one of the worst tornadoes in U.S. history.
The state of Missouri has a legal responsibility to fund state programs like higher education. When you run out of
money to pay for something, tap your savings account. It’s really quite simple. That way, issues that are the top
priority of your citizens, like that crazy thing called a college degree, can still be funded. Since, you know, the
state of Missouri is legally required to do so.
Of course money desperately needs to go toward disaster relief, so make the fund for that money usable and
loosen its regulations and the three-year time limit on paying the money back. That way, we won’t have to make
cuts to areas like higher education that the state already cut the guts out of this year when it appropriated the
funds for them in the first place.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, SEPTEMBER 1
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Posted: Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:00 am
Closing the door on constituent dialogue damages democracy
"Politicos downsize town hall forums" (Aug. 24) was informative and disturbing. Given the shooting of U.S. Rep.
Gabrielle Giffords, the suggestions of Capitol Law Enforcement and the mood of the public, it is understandable
that legislators are leery of holding open forums. But to close the door on the citizens you represent damages our
democracy. Closing the door stops true dialogue.
Conducting forums on Facebook and by telephone can't replace the open forum where all attending the event
gauge the reaction of the participants. Writing a letter to legislators to express an opinion results in responses
that regurgitate stated positions. Calling an elected official is usually only a way to have your position on an issue
tallied as pro or con.
Kudos to U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, who continues to meet publicly with constituents. Kudos to U.S.
Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., for her kitchen table meetings where her staff meets with small groups and
addresses constituent concerns. And, of course, going to factories and businesses is an important activity given
the state of the economy.
If large, open meetings are an ineffective forum where "people come with their mind made up," as Ms. McCaskill
said, legislators should meet face to face with small groups. Sitting at a conference table and politely listening to
each other would result in the public having more respect for their legislators, if not influencing their positions.
Meeting a legislator personally might even tamp down some of the public anger.
Surely we can communicate more effectively.
Mary Clemons • Kirkwood - President, Women's Voices Raised For Social Justice


Help the veterans
I toured the Veterans Home in Warrensburg, Mo., with the head administrator, Eric Endsley. The amenities and
care that the veterans receive is first-rate. The home has a $12 million annual budget. Roughly one-third is
funded from Missouri, one-third from the Department of Veterans' Affairs and one-third from the fees that the
veterans pay. The veterans pay up to $1,800 per month, which, if you know anything about long-term care, is a
bargain.
The state had to reallocate some of the funds used for the seven state-run veterans facilities. It is projected that,
by 2013, the homes will run out of money. The homes can charge the veterans a few hundred dollars more per
month to mitigate some of the increase in costs, but the Legislature is going to have to step up and make some
decisions. One idea is to raise the gaming fee that is collected per person entering a gambling facilities. Another
is to raise cigarette taxes or begin to collect sales taxes on Internet purchases.
Whatever the decision, our Legislature needs to move. We can't not take care of our veterans and let these
homes close.
Holmes Osborne • Odessa, Mo.
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Prevailing wages
"County weighs labor agreement request" (Aug. 24) discussed a proposal that St. Louis County require
contractors building an emergency communications center to be either union, or if non-union, to pay union
wages and union dues. In Missouri, any state or local tax-funded construction project must pay the prevailing
wage, which is defined by the state in a Prevailing Wage Order. Prevailing wages usually are close to union wages
and benefits. The union dues requirement is not part of the prevailing wage law.
Ken Ciszewski • Overland


Stick to the knitting
"Many stand to lose health care offered by employers" (Aug. 25) said that 10 percent of employers may drop
health insurance benefits once the insurance exchange is in place. That potentially is a harbinger of good things
to come.
Employers often cite the high cost of providing this benefit as one of the reasons that hiring is difficult. And, as
unemployment, underemployment and self-employment are reality for more people with no or limited health
insurance options, a dynamic marketplace in which to shop for coverage would help fill the need. People now
employed full time should have access as well.
The origin of employer-sponsored health insurance came about when employers needed a means to attract
workers in a post-World War II era of prosperity. However, the concept has far outlived its usefulness in today's
economy with record-high unemployment.
I hope this trend will increase to the point at which employers no more determine our health insurance options
than they do which vehicle we choose or where we shop for groceries. Have you ever gotten a pay raise only to
have it consumed by a simultaneous increase in your employer-sponsored health insurance premiums?
Steve Wymer • Kirkwood


Majority wins
Regarding the editorial "State of the union" (Aug. 26): Govs. Pat Quinn of Illinois, Scott Walker of Wisconsin,
Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio, for example, are trying to balance
their state budgets while providing quality services. States cannot print money to pay their bills.
As for labor unions, there are more nonunion citizens than union citizens in Illinois. A circuit court judge in
Sangamon county recently noted that the Illinois governor has broad powers ("Quinn free to yank education
salaries, judge says," Aug. 27). The court is not part of the executive branch. In a democracy, the majority wins. It
appears that the editorial writers of the Post-Dispatch don't like that arrangement.
C. Rossel • Waterloo


Placed in harm's way
As I watched the news of Hurricane Irene trudging its way along the East Coast, damaging beach-front homes and
hotels along the way, a question arose: Who is paying for all of this damage?
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The people living on the coasts are most likely covered by federal flood insurance, the original purpose of which
was to provide temporary flood insurance to property owners who were unaware they were in flood-prone
areas. In recent history, it has become a government insurance subsidy for builders and billionaires to afford to
build along the coastline.
More than 70 percent of the coastline in the lower 48 states is privately owned; state and local governments own
most of the rest. Homes with beach access or ocean views are highly valued. So, flood insurance, beach erosion
control and disaster loans often subsidize higher-income homeowners.
In 2004, the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency received 1.3 million applications for federal disaster
assistance because of hurricanes and tropical storms, far exceeding the number for any comparable period. The
Government Accountability Office reports that 90 percent of all natural disasters involve flooding. Although they
are called "natural," many would not be nearly as destructive had people and property not been placed in harm's
way.
John Elliott • Florissant


Barely standing
The reason President Barack Obama rolls over on the issues — health care, taxation, consumer protection — is
that he barely stands up for them to begin with.
The standing up part seems to have been spent during his campaign. I certainly went for the "hope and change"
message. I took it to mean a challenge, a fight for the common, everyday people of our country. I'm a lifelong
Democrat, but that means nothing today. Forget the political labels. I look at people like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-
Vt., and former Special Advisor for the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Elizabeth Warren and know in
my heart that they fight the good fight.
I'm older than 60 now, so I've seen and heard the political show for quite a while. No one I've ever campaigned
and voted for has disappointed me more than Mr. Obama. His promises are unkept, his compromises are not
compromises. He has no game.
Timothy M. Healy • St. John

				
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posted:12/10/2011
language:English
pages:61