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Your Opinion: Conservation isn't broken

by James Ortmeyer, Jefferson City | January 15, 2015 at 12:04 p.m. | Updated January 15, 2015 at 12:04 p.m.

Dear Editor:

This is a response to the editorial: "Legislative Review of the Conservation Department is Meddlesome and Unnecessary" as well as those comments from several contributors.

The Missouri Department of Conservation is most likely one of the stars of Missouri state agencies as well as a highly renowned department nationally. Please don't try to change a system that is not broke; on the contrary maybe we need to look further at their department and see if we can use some of their models to enhance other state departments.

One contributor stated "The people made a big mistake in 1976 by wrongly amending our constitution to "super-fund' one state department." I doubt that the people made a mistake, because it took a majority to pass the amendment. The contributor also states earlier in his contribution "why not provide other constitutional amendments to impose "penny" sales taxes for Departments of Corrections, Social Services, administration, and all others "right down-the-line?"

Just this past year legislation was approved that allowed Missouri voters to consider a ballot initiative for an additional sales tax to fund the Missouri Highway and Transportation Department. So the thought process for funding by use of the sales tax is not limited to one agency. I think the idea of funding programs by the use of the sales tax deserves consideration as it will allow Missourians to vote on the merits of a department as we did back in 1976 when we voted for the Conservation Sales Tax.

Procedures for amending our Constitution can be found in Article XII, Section 2(b) " Submission of amendments proposed by general assembly or by the initiative."

And yes I did vote for the transportation sales tax although I think it would be best funded by a combination of sales tax and fuel tax, being careful not to raise the fuel tax so high that we alienate truckers from purchasing fuel in Missouri.

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