Voters will be going to the polls in a couple of weeks, and State Rep. Donna Lichtenegger of Jackson gave them some advice during the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce business breakfast on Friday.
“Open up those ballot initiatives and read the whole thing,” she said. “Some may sound good by the title, but they are not.”
On the Aug. 7 ballot will be an opportunity to vote for Proposition A, called “Right to Work.” It has been the target of a lot of negative advertising by those opposed to it.
“I worked on this issue since 1978,” Lichtenegger said. A short time ago, Lichtenegger and Chamber Director Brian Gerau had attended a meeting in which “head hunters” for companies were asked questions about moving businesses to Missouri.
“Some questions were asked about Right to Work. How important is it to your companies? They replied, ‘If you don’t have it, we’re not even going to look at you.’”
Some companies will not even consider moving to Missouri if it is not a Right to Work state.
Right to Work does not do away with labor unions.
“We’re not taking anything away from unions.” Lichtenegger said.
Workers will still be free to join unions and union workers will not have to leave their unions. The proposal will allow workers who don’t want to join unions to work without forcing them to join unions.
Lichtenegger said she has received threats from people who oppose Prop A; some were serious enough to report to the Capitol. “If you disagree with an issue, there is absolutely no reason to threaten someone. But that’s what they do,” she said.
Coming up on the November ballot is an initiative called “Clean Missouri.” Who would oppose an issue with a title like that? she asked.
The initiative begins talking about lobbyist gifts. They are rare in Jefferson City. “If you can be bought with a steak and a glass of wine, you shouldn’t be there,” she said.
However, within the Clean Missouri initiative are five other issues and one will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. That would lead to inflation and unemployment.
“A hamburger at McDonald’s is going to cost you $7 and everybody there is going to be part time,” she predicted.
Reflecting on the past legislative session, Lichtenegger said, “Our budget was much better this year.” The State was able to fully fund the school funding formula and restored a lot of funding that had been taken from higher education.
Lichtenegger said she opposed cutting funding for higher education. “It doesn’t pay to cut higher education when you want a work force.”
Following Lichtenegger’s comments, Gerau joked, “Just for the record, I can be bought for a steak and a glass of wine.”
The breakfast, sponsored by Villas of Jackson, was held at the Jackson Civic Center.