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State Rep. Brian Seitz is not pleased with party leaders after an $11 billion jump in the state budget.

(Note: This is part one of a two-part story following a sit-down interview with State Rep. Brian Seitz.)

State Representative Brian Seitz isn’t happy with his party’s leadership at the moment.

Seitz was critical of leadership after the passage of a $47 billion state budget, the highest in the state’s history, and $11 billion higher than the previous year. Republican leadership attributed the jump to additional funds from the federal government because of COVID-19, but Seitz said it doesn’t matter the federal government sent the money.

“The difficulty with increasing the budget to this amount is the question, will we decrease the budget back to normal levels when the ARPA funds are gone?” Seitz told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “I asked the budget chair, Cody Smith, about this and his response was ‘well…’ and then I didn’t really get a response. Once you eat at the government trough, it’s very hard to take those funds away.”

Seitz says he’s looking forward to Missouri’s future and sees this recent budget as a problem.

“I think spending will be out of control at a time when we actually had good growth in Missouri, but we are in the throes of inflation,” Seitz said. 

Seitz praised Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s leadership during the pandemic as one of the reasons Missouri had a very good economy throughout the last few years.

“I think the governor did well in keeping businesses open and never having a state mandate, leaving it for local governments to decide, which served Missouri well,” Seitz said. “Especially in Branson, once we got a new mayor and new alderman, we were open for business and had the best year ever in the history of Branson.

“So our local economy is doing well, but we need to watch on the state level not to break the bank. Sometimes you need to save money for a rainy day, and because of runaway inflation, I think it’s something we should have done rather than spending it on pet projects.”

Seitz feels part of the problem is in southwest Missouri, Republicans are fiscally conservative, while their counterparts in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Springfield don’t share the same views.

“We often talk about having a red Republican supermajority, but I think our supermajority is purple,” Seitz said. “A little bit of blue, mixed with a little bit of red, and we end up purple. If you look at their spending, you’ll see it.”

Seitz cited the places ARPA funds were spent as causing an issue, because half of the money went into areas which are ongoing expenses versus one time expenditures.

“The House did a good job in that we wanted a tax rebate of $1 billion so the hardworking Missourians could get some of their own money back during this supposed prosperity,” Seitz said. “The federal government is just creating money and the House wanted to give it to taxpayers. The Senate decided to cut the rebate in half and then spend it on personal perks for their districts.”

However, Seitz did agree with some of the spending.

“There was $411 million for water and wastewater infrastructure,” Seitz said. “We need clean water and there are parts of the state where we still have lead service lines which need to be taken care of. We spent more on the Department of Education and Secondary Education, but we also need to keep an eye on what’s being taught in schools.”

He praised the local school districts, specifically mentioning Branson and Hollister, for the way they manage their funding and educate their students.

“My kids went to Branson from kindergarten through graduation and received an excellent education,” Seitz said. “Not every student in Missouri receives a quality education. We need to hold superintendents and teachers accountable for what they’re being taught. If students can’t come out of 13 years of education and not be able to read or be able to balance a checkbook then something’s wrong. We don’t need to keep throwing good money after bad.”

Seitz said parental involvement is the key to making sure districts are providing children with a quality education and not just “indoctrination.”

“The public schools need to open up their curriculum so parents can see what their children are being taught,” Seitz said. “One of the very few positives which came out of the pandemic was parents saw what their kids were learning online and it was socialization rather than education, and parents saw CRT and things like it, and once they were aware they said there was no place for it in public schools.”

Seitz agrees with the notion most conservatives didn’t realize how liberals were putting their ideologies into education positions over the last few decades and it led to socialization of children rather than education.

“When I went to Southwest Missouri State and graduated in 1990 when they were still teaching normal things,” Seitz said. “You had normal classes and then advanced in your field. Now, they’re socialization factories which educate teachers on socialist ideals to bring them into the public schools and [conservatives] weren’t watching. We were complacent.”

In a recent episode of the HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher, the liberal commentator noted a textbook was citing Black Lives Matter in a mathematics question, which Seitz sees as an example of the problem.

“Questions dealing with race in mathematical problems has nothing to do with math and everything to do with liberal socialization,” Seitz said.

Seitz believes parents need to keep an eye on where the money is being spent in their school districts to make sure the bulk is spent on the actual education of the children.

“I would like to see an overall look at how schools are funded,” Seitz said. “We need to see where the money is going. Is it going to the people at the top or the teachers who teach? Parental control is the key.”

Seitz added he feels another good thing from the pandemic is many people have gotten back into politics on the grassroots level of city government and school boards, which will help conservatives in the future because they are becoming educated on what’s really taking place in their government.

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