Dear Representative Roeber
You and the Republican Party have succeeded in attacking Missouri’s working class and the poor in our state. The so-called right to work law will allow people to work in unionized shops, enjoy all of the benefits of union membership, wages and benefits as well as representation in disputes with management, without paying union dues. That really does not harm unions but it does harm relationships among workers who pay their dues and those who choose not to contribute to support the unions that have won all of those things through negotiations. I worked in our neighboring state of Kansas in a union shop. There were only 2 scabs out of the 178 who worked there. No one respected them; they were outcasts among their fellow employees.
Now, you are trying to do away with the “Prevailing Wage”. You cite the Missouri and federal minimum wages in comparison to the good pay earned by skilled workers who would be involved in state projects. Guess what, workers will just refuse to work on those projects unless they can earn wages that are justified by their experience and skills. Republicans want to lower wages, according to you, in order to get state projects done on the cheap. At the same time, you refuse what really needs to be done; increase gasoline taxes that have not been increased since 1993. Inflation over the last 24 years has reduced the buying power of the dollar. The current gasoline tax would need to be 28 cents per gallon to have the same buying power that the current gasoline tax had when Governor Christopher Bond signed it into law. MODOT cannot catch up on its backload of work without a fuel tax increase but republicans have put themselves in a situation where the fuel tax would need to be 69% higher just to have the same buying power that the Bond fuel tax had in 1993. There is another option; the legislature could charge a sales tax on the price of fuel as is done in Illinois the state of Missouri is among the four states with the lowest fuel taxes.
The thing that really galls me about the republican government in Missouri is that is getting as bad as, or worse than, that of the republican government in Kansas. They have finally seen the results of cutting taxes for the rich and corporations and are working to pass bills to fund education and expand Medicaid. The governor in Kansas has robbed the highway fund to provide funding to other programs because of lack of adequate revenues. Kansans are trying to reverse some of the damages done by the Brownback tax cuts.
The biggest crime that the republican legislature has committed against its citizens is the total refusal to expand Medicaid for low income Missourians. You seem to be far more interested in the fetus than you are about the health of Missouri men and women who have supported your elections. Missouri has forgone billions of free federal dollars for Medicaid while Missouri citizens are suffering and dying from lack of health care. You should be ashamed of yourself and your fellow republicans who have chosen to turn your backs on low income Missourians. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_taxes_in_the_United_States#State_taxes
Gene W. DeVaux