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Koenig Focused On Fundraising

State Sen. Andrew Koenig, has apparently chosen to prioritize interests of Joplin billionaire David Humphreys, CEO of TAMKO, who contributed more than $150,000 to Koenig's senatorial campaign.

Koenig formed his 2020 re-election campaign committee; then sponsored SB 285, a bill to cut the corporate income tax over a few years from 6.25 percent to 4 percent. Some of the lost revenue would come from cuts to the Senior Citizens Property Tax Relief Tax Credit, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, and the Seed Capital Tax Credit, a credit to encourage new businesses to invest in Missouri. Over $100 million would have to come from other sources, like education and roads. At 6.25 percent, Missouri's corporate tax rate is lower than Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Arkansas.

Smart companies look for an educated, and healthy workforce. Fewer than one-in-four Americans support cuts to corporate taxes. This cash-grab is even more harmful because Missouri enjoys a federal match for many of the dollars it spends in the state, i.e., every state dollar spent on roads buys $5 in road repairs after federal matches.

Schools across the state have four-day school weeks due to state budget cuts which is job-killing and educationally harmful. This occurred before Gov. Greitens ordered more cuts to education.

I had hoped Sen. Koenig would have placed state needs and his constituents over his next campaign fundraiser. SB 285 suggests that is not the case.

Judith Parker
Des Peres
February 16, 2017

Restoring Civility

Eliminate name-calling words ending in -ist, -phobe and -denier from your vocabulary. Vitriolic name-calling may not break any bones, but the sticks and stones of dissent it sows fracture society into insular sub-societies.

Hurling invectives will silence meaningful discussion and harden ever more extreme positions. Just because someone agrees or disagrees with racial quotas, doesn't make them racists? Just because someone defines marriage as between one man and one woman doesn't make them a LGBTQIAPK-phobe, nor does anyone advocating for marriage equality make them phobic of the traditional family.

Some consider carbon dioxide an earth-destroying toxic pollutant, but this doesn't make them an energy-denier. Others think carbon dioxide is just plant food for photosynthesis, that doesn't make them a climate change-denier.

To disagree is normal, to do so in a disagreeable way is counterproductive. If someone called you an -ist, -phobe, or -denier, would you be ready to listen or ready to ...?

Daniel B. Bruzzini
Webster Groves
February 16, 2017

Benefits Of Obamacare

I have been a practicing primary care physician for 27 years and cannot let Mr. Gray's Jan. 13 letter in the Times go without rebuttal.

The vast majority of individuals who have insurance through Obamacare do not have a way to "transition back to the individual market."

I have had patients delay medical care for fear of bringing financial ruin on their families a couple at the cost of their lives. I have had patients who couldn't afford medical insurance due to pre-existing conditions and others who couldn't get it at any cost! And these are or were working Americans.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) afforded these people healthcare coverage for the first time. As their physician, I am glad I don't have to hodgepodge together medications or try to take care of potentially disastrous medical conditions without resources and I can actually focus on preserving health and on preventive measures.

I know the ACA is not perfect but it was to be a carefully balanced setup where all the pieces came together in support of the whole. States that did not expand Medicaid or set up their own exchanges like Missouri have not fared so well as those that did.

Meanwhile, I remain saddened by insurers and pharmaceutical companies that rake in huge profits off the backs of our citizens. Why is setting limits so reprehensible?

I do think the ACA can be improved. Let's not "throw the baby out with the bathwater."

Claudia Busiek, M.D.
Webster Groves
February 16, 2017

Study Prop K Before Voting

I am writing in response to Kirkwood School District Superintendent Tom Williams' Feb. 2 letter in which he states: "I would like to point out that the 'no tax under any circumstance group' led by Martin Bennet is only interested in ensuring Kirkwood School District taxes do not increase at any cost."

Dr. Williams' statement is false.

I urge readers to judge for themselves by visiting our website, Taxfairly.info. It sets out our positions and gives an account of our communication with Dr. Williams and other district officials which disproves his aforementioned statement.

The below sentence is from an email that Tax Fairly sent to Dr. Williams on Dec. 8:

"Our first choice is to work with you to come to a framework that takes into account all stakeholders in the community and one that will have a significantly higher chance of passing."

A PDF copy of the email thread is shown on our site with Dr. Williams' acknowledgment of having received our email.

Dr. Williams' misrepresentation of our group's positions has the intended effect of stifling open and honest discussion of district spending choices.

We urge taxpayers to look beyond the mischaracterizations, review our site, focus on the issues and make an informed decision.

Marty Bennet, Tax Fairly
Des Peres
February 16, 2017

Magic House Makes Community Stronger

My wife and I moved to Kirkwood in 2005 after relocating from California. We were drawn to the strength of the community. We are raising our three young children here and have enjoyed the opportunity to visit The Magic House for various events, weekend activities and school field trips over the last several years.

There's no doubt in my mind that The Magic House helps make our Kirkwood community and our neighborhoods stronger! The museum provides Kirkwood residents with high-quality, learning experiences in their backyard; something that neighborhoods across the nation no doubt envy.

I am concerned about comments made in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch article by Kirkwood City Council members regarding The Magic House parking lot extension.

The museum's recent proposal to extend its parking lot helps to ensure that they can better and more safety accommodate their visitors. The community's support of this expansion shows that we value the safety of the children in our community. I'm sure those with young children understand the peril with having to park across Kirkwood Road and then crossing such a major urban thoroughfare with multiple children in tow.

I love our community and The Magic House. To that end, we must view the long-term benefits of The Magic House's success as a success for Kirkwood as a whole.

Fred Bendaña
February 16, 2017

Magic House Puts Safety Of Children First

I want to share my support for The Magic House's proposed expansion project.

As a longtime Kirkwood resident and early childhood educator, I visited the museum with my children many times while they were young and had a family membership for years. As high school students, two of my children worked at The Magic House as their first jobs. Our family certainly knows the positive impact The Magic House has on young people.

For the past 16 years, I have been working at Eliot Chapel Nursery School; the past nine years I have served as the director. The school is located down the street from The Magic House at the corner of Argonne and Taylor. Being located on Taylor Avenue, I have seen the amount of traffic that the road generates, often serving as an alternative route to those looking to avoid Kirkwood Road.

As someone who works with young children, I want to applaud The Magic House for putting the safety of young children first and seeking to expand the museum's on site parking. This would help keep families from needing to cross Kirkwood Road and Taylor Avenue. As a community, we must be aware of the risks of families crossing busy intersections to access the museum when there is an available and safer alternative.

While I can understand neighbors' frustration for people parking on their streets, it seems that The Magic House has been proactive in trying to alleviate this issue. I can attest to The Magic House's commitment to being a good community partner and I believe this proposed project is another example of that work. As a community, let's support The Magic House.

Anne Marie Schweiss
February 16, 2017

The Magic House: Valuable Community Asset

The Magic House has played a big part in my life and that of many others.

As a young boy, I remember visiting The Magic House. I enjoyed the slide, touch tunnel and electrostatic generator.

As a young man, I worked there as a tour guide. I worked at The Magic House through high school and when I came home from college on break. I learned a great deal there including how to work with the public and how to educate children. The money I earned was vital in helping me pay for my college education. I also developed some lifelong friendships with other museum staff members.

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with others particularly the leadership of the Kirkwood Fire Department to establish a Safety Village exhibit. The exhibit will teach fire safety, pedestrian safety, bike safety and many other things. The exhibit will help thousands of kids be safe.

And in years to come I hope to take my son to The Magic House so he can play and learn at one of the country's premiere children's museums.

The Magic House is working to add some on-site parking, and make improvements that are aimed at making the facility safer for its visitors.

I realize that the museum's expansion over the years has impacted our community. And I understand that to some, these impacts are seen as negative.

The benefits of having The Magic House in our community are great. Having the museum here gives our children easy access to an exceptional educational resource. Beyond just local children, the museum serves the children of the whole metropolitan area.

Many of those who visit the museum eat and shop at local businesses. Those transactions produce sales tax that support government services.

I support The Magic House. It will always be a valuable community asset.

Scott Barthelmass
February 16, 2017

We're Humans, Not Monkeys

Retired teacher Julie Hundman (Feb. 3 Mailbag) boasts that her associates gave students a choice when it comes to the delicate subject of sex education. They could abstain or go for it. All fine and good. What I want to know is how, as she says, she could teach the course as "science based" as opposed to abstinence or morally based. Really, now I am blown away.

I want to know how you can do anything in life that is not first of all morally based? I thought we were human beings and not monkeys or aardvarks.

Well something is wrong. Unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and emotional strangulation, resulting from an amoral approach toward sex is at an all-time high. I guess that abstinence thing could come in handy.

What disturbed me most about the letter in question is that Ms. Hundman sounded haughty and wooden; and that she really just wanted to give the middle finger to Christian-based sex education, which in keeping with reason teaches abstinence. Tsk tsk Ms. Hundman.

Jonathan Waite
February 09, 2017

"No-Cost" Ordinance?

I don't know if it's poor reporting or legislative chicanery but when Sarah Vatterott says, "The city (Sunset Hills) would take no financial or other liability by passing the (Clean Energy District) ordinance ..." But she also says "...if their local officials agree to pass an ordinance creating a special assessment on their property-tax bills." (South County Times Jan. 27 article, "City Weighs Merits Of "Clean Energy District")

The Times should have asked and reported on how much this "no cost" ordinance is going to cost the taxpayers. A question I hope Dee Baebler had an answer to before she "threw her support to the bill."

I hope your next issue answers those questions.

Peter Bruck
Sunset Hills
February 09, 2017

God Blessed America

Compliments and kudos to Georgeanne Gass of Crestwood, John Voda of Shrewsbury and Julie Hundman of Affton for their letters in the Feb. 3 South County Times.

All of them look to a brighter future than we can all see now. National leadership and education ...

God has blessed America.

Let's pray that we please Him enough for Him to continue to do so.

Ann Logan
February 09, 2017

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