MOScout Daily Update: The Next Budget Problem - House Committee Chair Talk - Talent for DoD? and more...

Driving the Day

9AM news conference as “Bi-State Development officially introduces the next President and Chief Executive Officer who will lead our organization….”


The Next Budget Problem

Some market watchers believe that the flattening yield curve is signaling vulnerabilities to continued economic growth.  Regardless, the next recession is not a matter of “if,” but “when.”  And the state’s tepid tax revenue collection during these times of solid GDP growth have stirred fears that the next downturn will be particularly difficult on the state budget.

It’s worth revisiting Auditor Nicole Galloway’s “Stress Test” audit from a year ago, January 2018.  See it here.

Missouri, as well as the nation, is experiencing an extended period of positive economic growth following the 2008 recession, with current record low unemployment levels. Despite these positive economic conditions, the state's financial condition has not shown significant improvement…

In an effort to examine the condition of the Missouri economy and state budget, as well as to determine the impact of an economic downturn on the state budget, the State Auditor's Office contracted with economists from the University of Central Missouri (UCM) to analyze these issues… The developed stress test model allows users to apply various stresses on the state economy to estimate the impact on the state budget…

The unadjusted online stress test model projects unemployment to increase to approximately 9 percent (2009 recession levels) in fiscal year 2021. Such an increase in unemployment levels is projected to result in GR Fund revenues of $8.8 billion in fiscal year 2021, a $600 million shortfall from the fiscal year 2018 GR Fund budget of $9.4 billion. These estimates do not take into account the tax rate reduction impacts of SB 509 (2014)… Based on spending cuts made during the previous recession, the majority of budget cuts will be felt in higher education and elementary and secondary education…


House Committee Talk

With the treasurer decision made, Speaker Elijah Haahr now knows the roster of representatives he has to arrange into committees.  The expectation is that he’ll be spending a fair amount of time during the next week or two to configure his committee chairs.

Besides the question of who will lead the Budget Committee, there are a lot of openings at top committees due to term limits.

The assumption is that Haahr will keep the dual Rules Committees.  Top prospects to chair those committees are Reps. Rocky Miller and Holly Rehder.

Moving Miller from Utilities would open up that chairmanship, and Rep. Travis Fitzwater could be a contender for that spot.

Moving Rehder from Economic Development would similarly open up that spot, and Rep. Jean Evans is said to be interested in that committee.

Another possibility for Rules would be Rep. Dean Plocher.  But if Miller and Rehder get Rules, Plocher might get the wide-ranging General Laws Committee – probably a good fit for his legal background.

Plocher could also be placed as chair of Judiciary.  But other names mentioned there are: its current vice-chair, Bruce DeGroot; David Gregory, a current member of that committee; Nick Schroer; or Curtis Trent.


It appears on the House website that Rep. J Eggleston is now chair of Ethics.


Dyslexia Screening RFP

From the RFP: Per House Bill 2379, in the 2018-2019 school year and subsequent years, each public school, including each charter school, is required to conduct dyslexia screenings for students in the appropriate year consistent with the findings and recommendations of the task force created under Section 633.420. RSMo.

A dyslexia screening is a short test conducted by a teacher or school counselor to determine whether a student likely has dyslexia or a related disorder in which a positive result does not represent a medical diagnosis but indicates that the student could benefit from approved support… Based on the recommendations provided by the Legislative Task Force, DESE is seeking an assessment system to provide preliminary identification of students at risk for dyslexia and related disorders to assist the LEAs.  The maximum annual funding available for these services is $242,000.00…


Talent for DoD Sec?

Huffington Post names Jim Talent as a possible Defense Secretary.  See it here.

News of Mattis’ departure comes in the wake of reports that the White House had been discussing who might replace him, a topic that was first reported by The Washington Post in early September.  Some of the top names that were reportedly under consideration included four-star Army Gen. Jack Keane, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), former Treasury Department official David McCormick and former Republican Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri…


eMailbag: Reader Duel on Budget / Football

I have no dog in the Budget Chair fight, but that QB analogy was just dead wrong.   It's rewriting history.  Speaker Tilley made Silvey Budget Chair, leapfrogging Vice Chair Stream.  Stripping Speaker Haahr of his authority on some made up protocol is nonsense.  I'm sure Smith is capable, but he's only seen the $28B budget twice now.   Wood undoubtedly has more experience.  It's Haahr's call, period


New Committees

Prospects For Missouri was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is Juan Rangel.



Happy birthdays to Sen. Andrew Koenig, Rep. Don Rone, Duane Lester, Virginia Young, Brendan Lind, and peerless John Combest.

Saturday: Shannon Cooper, and Doc Brown.

Sunday: Mike Revis.

Monday: Sen. Paul Wieland, and Lindell Shumake.

Tuesday: David Christian.


MOScout Holiday Schedule

Reminder…  No MOScout Weekender tomorrow, and nothing Monday or Tuesday.  Be back Wednesday. Next week, we’ll do the always-popular “End of Year Reader Polls.”  And I’m planning a similar half week for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

What do I want for Christmas?  I want a lot of tips, rumors and interesting insights. Send them to, or text 314-255-5210.