Ten days later, Mr. Richard wouldn't come to the phone. He had just stripped the Metro funding out of the bill. According to news reports, he was pursuing a new plan — one that his caucus would try to jam through without a public hearing or input — that would take the federal aid and use it to reduce the state income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent.
There's some doubt that federal rules would permit the state to use stimulus funds to reduce taxes. No evidence was offered suggesting a few bucks extra each week in Missourians' paycheck would stimulate the economy. Leaders in the state Senate were highly skeptical the plan would survive if it reached them.
We wanted to ask Mr. Richard about these issues, but his communications director said his schedule was full, that the speaker could not free even 10 minutes to explain the political about-face to St. Louisans struggling to get to and from work.
Indeed, the speaker was booked. He was readying himself to appear on Fox News. It was a devil's bargain. Mr. Richard and his caucus decided to throw stranded commuters under the bus. In exchange, they received 15 minutes of fame — playing to the tea-party protest crowd with empty talk about an idle plan.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Post-Dispatch: Richard offers "empty talk about an idle plan"
House Republicans' plan to use federal stimulus money for tax cuts was criticized in a St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial today. The editorial criticized Speaker of the Houes Ron Richard, R-Joplin, for neglecting Missouri concerns while going on Fox News to appeal to the "teabag crowd":