Friday, June 2, 2017

First in MOScout: May Revenues Weak

State tax receipts for the month of May were weak.  Revenues declined 1.96% compared with May 2016.  That brings the fiscal year-to-date number to a meager 2.62%.

May’s decrease in revenue were driven by -3.63% slide in individual income tax receipts.  Sales tax was slightly positive, up 1.14%.  And refunds were 7.93% higher than a year ago.

The overall picture is state revenue limping as it comes down the home stretch of the fiscal year.

What It Means

It gives the governor additional ammunition for later this summer when his tax credit commission comes back with recommendations.  The weak revenue growth will be one more argument for “getting tax credits under control.”

It could also provide cover for the governor if he wants to veto HCB3, and save about $34 million in general revenue.

What It Doesn’t Mean

It doesn’t mean more withholds.  At least right now, assuming revenues growth doesn’t fall below 2% growth.

 

Galloway: Wellston Messed Up

Auditor Nicole Galloway’s recent audit of the City of Wellston is a parade of failings.  See the audit here.

From the summary: The city's procedures for receipting and depositing are poor… there is no assurance all monies collected are properly receipted, recorded, and deposited. Bank reconciliations were not performed for any of the city's bank accounts… The financial condition of the General Fund has declined in recent years… [T]he city's financial records were not complete and accurate… The City Council does not prepare a budget for any city funds. The city did not prepare and publish financial statements as required by state law. City personnel have not filed annual financial reports timely with the State Auditor's Office as required by state law… City ordinances are not complete or organized… The Mayor's use of city purchased fuel does not appear reasonable and necessary, is not properly reported as a taxable benefit to the Internal Revenue Service… We identified several wasteful or unnecessary disbursements... The city did not comply with state law regarding closed sessions. Minutes for several Council meetings could not be located… The City Administrator received two improper payouts of accrued vacation leave… The city violated state law and overpaid an elected official who served a dual role… State motor vehicle-related and half-cent Capital Improvements Sales Tax monies are comingled with general purpose monies rather than being accounted for in separate funds…

 

Media Watch

Variety reports a big bump in the road for Sinclair’s purchase of KTVI and KPLR in St. Louis and WDAF in Kansas City, along with other Tribune stations nationwide.  See it here.

Pull Quote: “A federal appeals court put on hold the FCC’s plans to restore a key media ownership rule that allowed major station groups to expand through mergers and acquisitions. The ruling could prove to be a roadblock to Sinclair Broadcast Group’s pending $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media TV stations… A source close to the situation noted that the temporary stay granted on Thursday extends through June 7, and the real test will come next week after the review is completed by a three-judge panel…”

Why It Matters

Right-leaning Sinclair is en route amassing a juggernaut network of stations in most Missouri TV markets. Sinclair already owns stations in Columbia-Jefferson City, Hannibal-Quincy, Kirksville and Cape Girardeau.

 

Allman Bits

Former Speaker Tim Jones gets a radio show… on St. Louis FM 98.1, Sunday nights 7-9PM.  See it here.  Whew, I will still be able to watch Sixty Minutes and not miss Jones’ show!

 

Sen. Bob Onder discusses the need for a special session on pro-life issues with Jamie Allman here.

 

Weed Bits

Eapen Thampy dismantles Brad Bradshaw’s medical marijuana initiative petition, calling it a “vanity project.”  See it here.

 

St. Louis Business Journal reports on St. Louis investors raising money for a medical marijuana business.  See it hereBrian Fox and Bob Greene have raised $5.25 million in the past two years to invest in a growing marijuana business.  The duo, operating as Greene Fox Enterprises, co-founded and partnered on the first medical marijuana dispensary in Illinois… The legal cannabis market in the U.S. hit $7.2 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow 17 percent a year, according to a February report from New Frontier Data, a publisher of data on the legal marijuana industry. Medical marijuana sales are projected to grow from $4.7 billion in 2016 to $13.3 billion in 2020. Fox said about 75 percent of investors in his business are from the St. Louis area. He declined to name them because of the potential controversy surrounding marijuana…”

 

Employment Bits

The Senate website shows Wilma Rowden joining the staff of Sen. Gina Walsh.

 

According to the Missouri Accountability portal Loyd Wilson has exited the Department of Agriculture where he was deputy director.  LinkedIn says that Wilson spent 17 years in the Dept of Ag, and is now “looking for opportunities.”

 

One rumor making the rounds is that Speaker Todd Richardson staffer David Willis could be leaving to go to the private side.  The rumor has him joining United Healthcare, though it’s just a rumor with disputing that it’s a done deal.  As with the everything else in life: we’ll see….

 

In the lobbyists registrations (below) you’ll see the University of Missouri’s government relations team deregistering.  Here’s the Columbia Tribune story on the firings.  I’m not sure what they could have done differently given the various foibles that the university has been through in the past few years.

 

Other Bits

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson tweets that she’ll be joining the coalition of the willing to stick by the Paris Agreement.

 

Senator Roy Blunt congratulations the Missouri high-schoolers who will be off to the nation’s military academies next year.  See them here.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Stephen Knorr, Courtney Niendick, and Martin Oetting deleted University of Missouri.

Sheila Short deleted Missouri Equine Council Inc.

Derek Hein deleted DraftKings Inc.

David Samuel Durbin deleted Voyce.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Roberts for Alderman - $10,000 from Steven Roberts.

We Are Missouri - $5,250 from Sprinkler Fitters Political Education and Legislative Fund.

We Are Missouri - $27,000 from Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 36 General Fund.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $10,000 from Friends of Todd Richardson.

Find the Cures - $27,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Dean Dohrman, and Dick Burke.

Saturday: Former Reps. Ward Franz, and Ray Weter, and Kander’s Abe Rakov.

Sunday: Cerner’s Melissa Boyd.

 

MOScout News

Because the journey of self-improvement is never-ending, I’ve purchased a new smartphone (Blackberry Priv), maybe some hiccups with texts, emails over next couple days as it migrates over.