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Friday, Aug. 26, 2016

Nothing so special in special session

Thursday, September 4, 2003

It's difficult to imagine just how many times Gov. Bob Holden will try to raise taxes before he gets the message that the Missouri Legislature is not going to support his proposals. Holden again this week called the Legislature into Special Session starting Monday to consider ways to raise revenues in Missouri. He has two chances for success - slim and none.

Poor Bob has had a rough time in recent months. He's facing a Republican-led Legislature that wants to shrink government and Holden is adamant in his quest to grow the bureaucracy that has become Jefferson City. Holden takes two steps forward and three back nearly every day of his life. He keeps urging more money for public education in an era when report after report says that money is not the sole prerequisite for quality education and test scores - despite past spending - are headed in the wrong direction.

And then Holden too is facing a stiff challenge for his job from within his own party. One is his potential strengths on next year's ballot would have been Joe Maxwell of Mexico who was running for lieutenant governor. But Maxwell dropped out of the race and that will surely take some steam out of a Holden-Maxwell team on the ballot.

Bob Holden keeps talking about closing "corporate tax loopholes" because the public is highly supportive of measures that force all segments of the economy to pay their fair share. But he has yet to make his case in Jefferson City or around the state that his proposals will not harm business while generating insufficient revenues. He'll likely lose that debate again next week when the Special Session convenes.

In one parting shot, Holden said he might reconsider an earlier proposal to limit medical malpractice claims during next week's session. The Governor had vetoed an earlier bill on the topic. Trial lawyers - the great source of Holden's campaign chest - are against any measure that would limit their potential for litigation. So Holden won't budge from this issue, you mark my word.

In the meantime, look for a quick session next week and finger-pointing from every direction. And in the end, look for nothing to happen.

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