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Lawmakers Start 2013 Session

*** UPDATE 7:15 P.M. ***Wednesday marks the start of Missouri’s 97th General Assembly. Top State Senate and House leaders spent much of the first day of the session outlining similar priorities.Both want to focus on improving roads, getting people working again, and trying to find wastes in government, but both chambers say one of their top priorities this session is looking at taxes.Lawmakers said they want to look into programs like tax credits; they have been the focus for several years while trying to cut down on spending. At the same time the senate wants to look into cutting income tax saying the more money for individuals might mean a better economy.Several lawmakers said they’re worried about the economy, but they have a plan to fix that. The plan involves letting people have more money in their pockets by cutting the income tax. Senators didn’t give out details of how much they want to cut it the income tax, but they want to do it in a way that it grows the economy too. “To increase personal incomes so that people can take care of their families and so cutting income tax will send a message to the rest of the country and those in the state of Missouri that we are headed in the right direction,” said Republican Senator Tom Dempsey of St. Charles. Senators and representatives also believe tax credits can help grow the economy. House leaders said some of the 61 credits are just wasting money, money that could go to other important areas in the state. “This session I want to see this legislative body work on a simple motto of cut cap and create we need to continue to look at overly burdensome taxation on Missouri’s families businesses and farmers,” said Republican Representative Timothy Jones of Eureka.Republicans have an overwhelming majority in both houses of the legislature. Democrat leaders said their priorities are similar to republicans this session, because hey know the majority isn’t going to vote the same on every bill. Therefore, they believe they’re still important.”I think we’re incredibly relevant because of that we also want to create hobs and move Missouri forward so I think you’re going to see a close working relationship,” said Democratic Senator Jolie Justus of Kansas City.Leaders said they want to cut about $100 Million in tax credits, they said there are many other areas that could take that money.*** ORIGINAL STORY ***(AP) – Taxes and health care figure to play prominently in Missouri’s new legislative session.The 2013 session kicks off at noon Wednesday and runs through May 17. Republicans will hold overwhelming majorities in both the House and Senate, but the governor’s office will still be held by Democrat Jay Nixon.Republican legislative leaders plan to pursue changes to the state’s tax credit programs, as well as income tax cuts for individuals or businesses.Nixon says he is not focused on further tax cuts. Instead, the governor wants to expand Missouri’s Medicaid program to cover more lower-income adults, as envisioned by President Barack Obama’s health care law.Republican lawmakers have expressed opposition to expanding Medicaid.Nixon is to present his budget and State of the State address Jan. 28.

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