MOScout Daily Update: Moore, Anderson Exit House - CLEAN Coming - No Budget Worries? and more...

Moore, Anderson Exit House Staff

Word is that Richard Moore and Doug Anderson have left the House staff.  Moore was senior counsel, and Anderson was a drafting attorney.  Both are headed to the Department of Health and Senior Services.  Moore is taking the role of general counsel there.  And one tipster says that Anderson will head up special projects, but that’s unconfirmed.

I’m told that this is unrelated to the coming implementation of CLEAN Missouri (see the next item).

 

New CLEAN Restrictions

Sources in both the House and Senate tells me they won’t be surprised if there’s an uptick in staff turnover ahead of December 6 when CLEAN Missouri takes effect.  That’s because CLEAN also includes staff in its 2-year wait period before lobbying.

From the amendment: “[N]o person serving as a member of or employed by the General Assembly shall act or serve as a paid lobbyist…”

Says one building denizen: “There are several [staffers] who are seeking out jobs. I think you’ll see at least a few of the higher level ones move on…”

And

Another Jeff City veteran notes that CLEAN “prohibits legislators accepting gifts of more than $5 per occurrence from a lobbyist OR lobbyist principal.  A lobbyist principal is any entity (including government entities) that compensates or otherwise employs a lobbyist. According to the MEC website, the Governor's office employs two lobbyists. CLEAN would seem to prohibit the Mansion receptions the Governor regularly holds for legislators (assuming they spend more than $5 per legislator on those things)…”

 

Looking Around the Corner: Medicaid IP Fiscal Note?

The success of Medicaid expansion in “red” states earlier this month has more folks thinking it’s possible in Missouri.  The expected path would be through initiative petition.

In that scenario, one of the more critical elements to whether a proposal could pass would be the fiscal note.  Missouri voters might embrace expansion if it seems financially prudent, but reject it if comes if the price-tag looks too high.

Generally, Republicans have viewed expansion as a budget buster, believing it would cost $100-200 million annually.  Democrats, on the other hand, point to an analysis from the Missouri Budget Project that the savings of Medicaid expansion would more than offset the costs, giving it a net positive fiscal note.

If an IP qualified for the ballot, the fiscal note would be written by the Auditor’s office.  That job falls to career staffers – most, if not all, of whom have served under both Republicans and Democrats.  They’ll gather a boatload of information and analysis before calculating the figure, knowing that their work could be challenged legally.  One MOScouter, though, notes that the Auditor’s office has rarely lost a challenge over fiscal notes.

 

More on the Budget

Missourinet has an article on the current tax receipt shortfall which says that by April the money will be there.  See it here.

There’s thinking that the shortfall is connected to the way individual incomes taxes, far and away the biggest contributor to state general revenue collections, are determined.

The state Department of Revenue announced in September that it’s reworking the tax tables after determining it’s been under collecting income taxes from individuals.

It said the unexpected decrease in withholding is due to a longstanding inaccurate calculation of the federal tax deduction that had previously gone undetected.  Federal taxes paid can be deducted on Missouri income taxes up to $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for couples…

Budget Director Haug admitted as much by predicting the budget picture would improve when the majority of tax returns are filed in March and April.  “With the under withholding we expect that tax collections will be stronger in the spring,” said Haug…

 

One budget watcher says… “If [the administration] were less than comfortable [with revenues] they would have made withholds when the second quarter started. I believe Nixon and Greitens would have made withholds by now just to cover their rear ends, but Parson is trying to make friends, not enemies… The risk that DOR and Budget & Planning are wrong is huge. Withholds are much harder to make in the spring when most of the money for the fiscal year is already out the door…”

 

Hospital Fight in JCity

There’s a fight brewing in Jefferson City over a proposed purchase of St. Mary's hospital in Jefferson City by MU Health Care.  See it here.

A new nonprofit in Jefferson city aims to oppose any future expansion of MU Health Care in the state capital and according to the group, it has collected thousands of dollars. The Coalition for Choice, which announced their formation last week, was created to stop the possible takeover by MU Health.  “The state takeover of healthcare," said Hallie Gibbs, the attorney for the group. "“It may be a benefit to hospital systems to merge, but typically it’s a detriment to the patients."

On their website, the group said it is concerned that consolidating health care providers could result in higher costs, lower quality care and, in general, negatively affect the area… Gibbs said the coalition has about 100 supporters who have donated $20,000. He said those supporters have also pledged to give an additional $100,000, which has not yet been donated. MU Heath Care told ABC 17 News in a statement that the purchase of St. Mary's would help patients, including those in rural areas, access affordable treatment. The statement also said the Coalition for Choice has yet to contact them…

 

More Beer in Branson

From Springfield News-Leader (see it here): Branson will soon ask Missouri state lawmakers to consider a bill making it easier to sell alcohol at Branson Landing outdoor events.  Members of Branson's board of aldermen voted 4-2 Tuesday night to ask state legislators to allow Branson entertainment districts — defined in the approved resolution as part of the city’s central business district, downtown core or other area designated for redevelopment — to get a special festival license to sell alcohol outdoors. Branson Finance Director Jamie Rouch said Branson would seek to pre-file a bill before the start of the legislative session in January….

 

Bits

Press release: Senator-elect Josh Hawley has named two key hires in his new office. Hawley has selected U.S. Senate campaign manager Kyle Plotkin to serve as his Chief of Staff and Daniel Hartman, currently chief of staff in the Attorney General’s Office, to serve as State Director.

 

SuperLawyer Chuck Hatfield noticed this recent submission to be a 2020 initiative petition: women should have the “right to a big shirt…”  See it here.

 

Former Rep. Randy Dunn writes, “I am excited to announce my next venture with two of my closest friends John Holder & Brandon Carter. Please check out our online boutique for those holiday gifts and like and share this post and our page. www.Jet-KC.com...”

 

eMailbag on Prop D Autopsy

The Barklage memo also demonstrates why McCaskill lost and why Dems didn't make legislative gains.  It also makes Galloway's win a bit more impressive.

 

The Prop D analysis from David Barklage makes a critical point…  “Proposition D received 1,101,830 votes, enough votes to have won any ballot issue in any other mid-term election cycle this century...” That’s pretty profound, and to have piled up 1.1 million plus votes for a tax increase of any kind shows the message is indeed gradually saturating: Roads are bad and something needs to be done. Barklage is also correct that this saturation into public thinking should fuel further action, with haste.

 

Help Wanted

St. Louis Public Radio seeks Reporter. “The St. Louis region is a dream come true for the inveterate political reporter. There are more than enough governments to cover (over 90!) not to mention our statewide and federal representatives. The stories are vast and varied and St. Louis Public Radio is looking for a reporter to explore and explain it all.”  See the ad here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

William Marrs added Missouri Association of Local Public Health Agencies, and Greene County Commission.

Catalyst added Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, Fairway Management, Equifax, and Vapor Technologies; and deleted Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM), OFO, and Impossible Foods.

David Willis deleted Ranger Power LLC.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Advance Missouri - $47,000 from Missouri Alliance for Freedom.

Uniting Missouri PAC - $7,200 from Collinsville Acquisitions Inc.

Uniting Missouri PAC - $30,000 from KP Charlotte LLC.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Gold Rush Amusements Inc.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Timothy Drury.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Sen-elect Mike Bernskoetter, and Judge Joe Don McGaugh.