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Our Opinion: Legislature bolsters local economy

Our Opinion: Legislature bolsters local economy

News Tribune Editorial

January 8th, 2019 by News Tribune in Opinion

As the 100th session of the Missouri General Assembly is poised to start Wednesday, all talk is on pre-filed bills and priorities.

The Republican-controlled Legislature will consider whether to collect sales taxes on online purchases, allow sports gambling and overhaul legislative redistricting when they return for the start of the 2019 session, according to an Associated Press story we published Monday.

As usual, at the beginning of the year, political types of all stripes are bracing for battle in the Capitol's two arenas — the House and Senate. You probably have your own ideas as to what bills should become laws and which ones should be spiked.

However, what sometimes gets lost is that, win or lose, the annual legislative session is a win-win for Jefferson City's economy.

The economic boost starts with the 197 lawmakers who will spend close to half the year working, and often living, in Jefferson City.

However, that's just the start. Factor in all the lobbyists, interns, office workers and other jobs related to the legislative session, and it starts to add up to real money.

Some of these people live and work in Jefferson City. Others commute during the session. Either way, all of them spend money in our community, and add to our local tax base through property taxes or sales taxes.

The hotel industry benefits greatly, as do local restaurants. Legislative-related workers buy gas and groceries, visit movies and shop for gifts.

Without their contributions, our economy wouldn't be the same.

Unfortunately, the Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce cancelled Taste of Jefferson City, our local restaurant's annual welcome to lawmakers. The Chamber blamed Clean Missouri, the recent change voters enacted to the state Constitution that limits gifts to lawmakers.

So retailers, give your own welcome to lawmakers and everyone else they bring to town during the first half of the year. Put signs on your marquees, offer specials or tell them in person that you appreciate their business.

Their presence in our community is an economic gift to us all.

News Tribune