Friday, November 3, 2017

Q&A #1: What Are The Chances of Transportation Funding Next Session?

Short answer:  Low.

 

Transportation funding has bedeviled the Republican supermajority in Jefferson City.  It tends to expose the difference between their campaign rhetoric (No New Taxes) and their desire to create a business-friendly environment. The business community recognizes the importance of transportation.   It is one of the most elemental parts of the economy – the ability to move goods to market.

But beyond that basic need, with the proper investments transportation logistics could be a growth industry for Missouri as it’s ideally located in the middle of the country with a complementing infrastructure of airports, rails and ports.

The Transportation task force which has been trying to find a workable plan to generate revenue, and it sounds as if they’re immediate recommendation will be an increase in the gas (and diesel) tax.  Our gas tax is near the bottom of rates among the 50 states; the consensus is that it could be raised and still remain in line with neighboring states.

And a fuel tax wouldn’t be fought by the trucking industry. In fact, trucking companies worry about chokepoints in the Missouri system that account for costly delays in shipping as well as the longer-term health of the I-70 artery which one source described as “literally crumbling underneath.”  They want more revenue directed to roads and will support a gas tax.

 

The problem with this solution is that there’s a core group of Republicans who will oppose a new tax.  The most vocal advocate of this position is Sen. Bill Eigel who proposed last year that instead of a new tax, a portion of general revenue be dedicated to transportation.

The argument here is that Jeff City gets enough tax dollars; it’s a matter of priorities.

I think Eigel’s position is the minority position among legislators in Jefferson City, but... there are probably enough Eigel-ites in Senate to stand, talk, and stop a gas tax from making it through that chamber.

So the question becomes – is there a compromise that can raise revenue in a way that the Eigel faction of the Senate finds acceptable.  So far, the answer to that question is: no.

 

Q&A #2: What Does Fred Sauer Think of Campaign Finance Now?

Short answer: (shrug)

I called the Sauer’s office to find out and haven’t heard back….

 

Greitens Fires Off Letter

Governor Eric Greitens got a little defensive with U.S. Senators Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill asking for an investigation into the problems reported by Post-Dispatch’s Tony Messenger.

Missourinet reportsGreitens letter opens with a sharp sarcastic statement. “It’s good to see some signs of life out of Congress.  A lot of us back home have been wondering what you’ve been up to.” Greitens goes on in the letter to recount the timeline of his office’s response to allegations of mistreatment at the state run St. Louis Veterans Home.  “We don’t need more meaningless letters from career politicians,” said Greitens.  “What we need is action.  After all that time in Washington, both of you should have some pull there.”  Greitens goes on to direct the Senators to take action…

In Greitens letter back to the Senators, he told them they would find it if they Googled “St. Louis Veterans Home Survey Report VA”.  “It’s the second link down,” said Greitens.  The directive actually brings up something different  however; a May 2017 review by the VA Inspector General of how accurately veteran disability claims were being processed.

McCaskill’s spokesperson responded… “This is a state-run veterans facility. The governor should toughen up, accept the criticism, and fix it.” McCaskill is a Democrat who is up for reelection next year. Senator Blunt, a fellow Republican of Greitens, issued statement much less critical of the governor, while also pointing out that the St. Louis veterans home is state controlled.  “I agree with Governor Greitens that these allegations are deeply disturbing, and support his call for an investigation into this state-run veterans home, said Blunt.  “I believe it is important that the investigation be conducted by an independent entity.

 

MEC: Hunting Club Reportable

The Missouri Ethics Commission opines that “a lobbyist who provides access to a private hunting club for a legislator out-of-state makes an expenditure and is required to report the fair market value of the hunting opportunity under Sec. 105.473.3, RSMo. If the lobbyist is paying for travel or lodging out-of-sate, the legislator must get prior approval by the appropriate administration committee under Sec. 105.473.4, RSMo. The legislator may also have to report the expenditure on the personal financial disclosure statement…”  See it here.

 

This opinion may be withdrawn as I am told it was asked based on hypothetical – not actual – facts.

 

Bits

KRCG’s got it… under Single Feasible Source Purchase, the Department of Conservation says that KRCG-TV is the only one that can get the eyeballs they need.  Wonder how other stations feel about that?  “KRCG-TV is the single source for this particular partnership since KRCG-TV morning and evening news achieves the highest ratings in the area in households and key adult demographics (age 25-54), which is the key demographic that the Department of Conservation is trying to reach with its Discover Nature series… Contract Period:         November 1, 2017 through October 31, 2018….”

 

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman amended committee to seek re-election next year.  See it here.
Rep. Kurt Bahr is the registered agent for a new LLC…. Bahr Family Properties, LLC.

 

The Senate website shows two new staffers for District 14 (Chappelle-Nadal): Andrew Bennett and Wanda Merrill; it also shows Regina Anderson no longer with District 9 (Curls); and Kyle Aubuchon gone from District 25 (Libla).  Aubuchon is going to work for Congressman Jason Smith.

 

New Committees

Matt Sain formed a candidate committee (Sain for Missouri) to run for House 14 as a Democrat.  This is the Corlew seat.

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Saturday: MO Patriot Paws Banquet – Boone Cty VFW Post 280 – Columbia

Saturday: Rep. Nathan Tate Reception – Holy Trinity Church Hall – St. Clair – 5PM.

Sunday: Rep. Cora Faith Walker Birthday Reception – Kranzberg Arts Ctr. – St. Louis – 1PM.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Andy Arnold added Missouri Licensed Beverage Retailers Association.

Guy Black added CFM Insurance Inc.

Jennifer Baird, Jeremiah Cover, Julian Hartner, Peter Rottgers, and Joseph Lauber added Lauber Municipal Law LLC.

Dustin Schnieders added University Of Missouri System.

Kenny Jackson deleted Missouri State Medical Association.

Leo Morton deleted University of Missouri.

Phil Walsack deleted Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities.

James Gwinner deleted State Policy Network.

Noel Torpey deleted Integrity Home Care.

 

$5K+ Contributions

We Are Missouri - $15,000 from Transport Workers Union Political Contributions Committee.

We Are Missouri - $10,000 from Transport Workers Union Political Contributions Committee.

Missouri Republican Leadership PAC - $25,000 from Drury Development Corporation.

Citizens for Responsible Government - $6,350 from Phil Klein.

Citizens for Responsible Government - $6,350 from Phil Klein.

CL PAC - $10,000 from Onder, Shelton, O’Leary & Peterson LLC.

Raise Up Missouri - $60,000 from The Fairness Project.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from MO Society of Anesthesiologists.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from Comprehensive Health Management Inc.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Clint Zweifel, Kim Cella, Emily Waggoner, Kevin McManus and David Linton.

Saturday: Tony Messenger, Amy Gunn, Keith English, Mike Allen, and Patrick Hamacher.

Sunday: Rep. Cora Faith Walker, Brad Ketcher, Angie Postal and Aaron Jeffries.