Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ameren’s Big Plan

Ameren Missouri dropped a big bomb yesterday announcing that they would accelerate a shift away from coal toward renewable sources of energy.  See their Integrated Resource Plan here.  See the Post-Dispatch article here.

From the press release: [Ameren] plans to add at least 700 megawatts of wind generation by 2020, representing an investment of approximately $1 billion. The potential exists to add even more wind generation in the coming years as a result of improving technology and economics, as well as renewable energy initiatives with large customers. The company also plans to add 100 megawatts of solar generation over the next 10 years, with 50 megawatts expected to come online by 2025…. Further, the company is establishing a goal of reducing its carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 from the 2005 level… Addressing the need to transition to a smart energy grid that can support more renewable energy, universal and private solar and customers' desire for more timely information. In the next two decades, the energy grid will be the lifeline for cleaner energy connecting hundreds, if not thousands, of small and regional renewable energy generators to the grid in real time while maintaining the energy reliability demanded by customers.

What It Means

It’s a big goal in terms of moving to cleaner and cheaper energy generation – but also in the potential for huge investments and jobs.  However some of it appears to be contingent on changes to their regulatory framework that they have been asking for.

This will put additional pressure on the legislature to make something happen.

 

First Reaction… Commissioner Scott Rupp tweets that his mind is blown by the plan.  See it here).  And that legislature should look at regulatory overhaul for utilities.  (See it here).

 

Q&A #1: Is This Year Different for Utilities?

Quite possibly yes. Although there remain entrenched interests that fear the utilities are trying to codify higher energy bills to consumers, the momentum may finally be shifting in the utilities’ direction.

First, Governor Eric Greitens appears to be a supporter.  Even though he got cold feet and yanked the modernization piece from the first special session, it’s something he appears to support.

Second, Speaker-elect Elijah Haahr appears to be a supporter.  That will add some incentive for opponents to deal now with the issue under Speaker Todd Richardson than wait and have Haahr in the corner office.

Third, while the industrials-consumer advocates coalition still exists, the demise of Noranda weakened its muscle in the building.

Fourth, the utilities spent years bouncing from proposal to proposal, always with a new acronym (CWIP, ESP).  This is same message as last year: change regulations = more investment and jobs.  It can be a winning formula.

But

If you have to bet, never forget: the trend is your friend.  They’ve come up short the past several years, so the odds are against them.

 

Circuit-Breaker Deal?

Joplin Globe reporter Crystal Thomas reports on possible compromise changes to the circuit-breaker tax credit to reverse services cuts.  See it here.

It sounds like the solution will focus on four changes – reducing the caps for home owners and renters, and eliminating the credit for renters in subsidized housing or nursing homes.

Democrats aren’t thrilled with this. They point to other possible sources of cash.  One prominent suggestion is to end the “giveaway” that businesses paying their taxes on time get a discount. It was mentioned in the leaked “Simple Tax” draft.

Much like the withholding tax timely filing discount discussed in the Income Tax section of this

report, Missouri also provides a 2% sales tax timely filing discount for vendors who remit sales tax collected. According to Missouri Revised Statute 144.140.1, “from every remittance to the director of revenue made on or before the date when the same becomes due, the person required to remit the same shall be entitled to deduct and retain an amount equal to two percent thereof.” In short, if a business collects sales or use tax, and timely remits that tax to the Department, then that business may retain two percent of the tax it remitted. In Fiscal Year 2016, sales tax revenue was reduced by approximately $115 million (about $56 million in state revenues, and $59 million in local revenues). In the same year, withholding tax revenue was reduced by approximately $29 million.

Republican leadership has shown no appetite to pursue this.  It’s said that they are open to ending this benefit, but have other ideas where the money would be used.  In particular one rumor is that Speaker Todd Richardson would use it to jumpstart a transportation funding deal.

 

Bradshaw “Half Way There”

Bradley Bradshaw claims that he’s reached the half-way point in collecting the hundreds of thousands of signatures needed to put his version of medical marijuana on the ballot.  See it here.

Bradshaw is doing his own thing quite separate from the other organizations working on MMJ.  The knock against his proposal (see it here) is that it “would give Brad Bradshaw a Constitutional office.”  That is, it sets up a “Research Board” which he would “coordinate,” including picking all the board members…

 

First in MOScout: State Bids Out Adverstising

Missouri state is bidding out its advertising and media placement contracts.  From the RFP:

The nature of the services provided by many of Missouri’s various offices are often “public service” related.  As such, history has shown a need for the offices to reach the public with education and information related to the services offered.  Some, but not all types, of past campaigns are listed below:

  1. Public education campaign services to educate Missourians on traffic safety issues, in order reduce the number and severity of traffic crashes occurring in the State of Missouri.
  2. A media and marketing campaign with an ultimate goal of making those Missouri citizens affected by Traumatic Brain Injury aware of the services available to them through the programs of the Missouri Head Injury Advisory Council and to motivate such people to contact the resources available to them.
  3. Public Education services for various offices within the Department of Health and Senior Services to assist them in educating the public about public health issues and the services available.
  4. Public education campaign for the Secretary of State’s office to educate the public regarding voting regulations and issues.
  5. Public outreach campaign to increase enrollment of eligible seniors in the Missouri Senior Rx Program by reaching the target population with appealing public outreach materials to educate and inform about the Missouri Senior Rx Program.
  6. Development of script and coordination of talent for videos produced by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to introduce Career Clusters to students, parents, and educators.
  7. A campaign for the Department of Mental Health, Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse to educate and inform Missourians about the hazards of tobacco use; discourage the use of tobacco products among youth and provide information to families to assist them in discouraging tobacco use; and educate and inform Missourians about laws governing the sale of tobacco products, raising the awareness of responsibilities of merchants and youth.
  8. An anti-litter campaign on behalf of the Missouri Departments of Conservation, Natural Resources, and Transportation.
  9. Public awareness campaigns and promotions for the Department of Agriculture designed to increase awareness of the Missouri Wine and Grape industry and/or the AgriMissouri program and products.
  10. Statewide Discover Nature campaigns and promotions for the Department of Conservation to increase awareness, benefits, and appreciation of Missouri’s fish, forests, wildlife, and outdoor recreational opportunities….

Current contract holders for these and other services include: Bucket Media Inc., Elasticity LLC, Incite, Learfield Communications Inc., Paradowski Creative, Salva O’Renick, Missouri Broadcasters Association, and True Media.

The Advertising Services series of contracts had approximately $4.7 million in spend during Fiscal Year 2016 and approximately $7 million in spend during Fiscal Year 2017.  Additionally, the Media Placement Services series of contracts had approximately $550,000 in spend during Fiscal Year 2016 and $1.5 million in spend during Fiscal Year 2017.

 

Bits

Eli Yokley tweeted out a copy of a Sam Fox fundraiser for Josh Hawley.  See it here.  The letter is paid for by Hawley’s exploratory committee.  Fox announces that Hawley has decided to run.

 

Missouri Times reports that Jacob Turk has made the ballot – barely – in Senate 8.  See it here.

 

eMailbag on Turk Lawsuit

Big Win for Turk. Way to elevate his name and shows [who is] the insider choice.

 

eMailbag on Greitens Response

Sure, he promised Ferguson riots would have been over in two days under his control. That was a bold campaign statement that hasn't proven to hold true in his management of the Stockley verdict. However, aside from that campaign pledge, Greitens management of the riots has been an 180 degree difference from what we saw under Nixon's leadership.

First and foremost, Greitens is there and doing something. He's not reading a prepared statement from Jefferson City and he's not dodging calls. The fact that he has shown up is half the battle, and he has been in constant communication with Democrat leaders in the city before and after the verdict.

Everyone might not agree on the tactics that he's taken, and he clearly overpromised his ability to manage a riot, but at least he has tactics, because the chief complaint against Nixon was that he was nowhere to be found.

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Rep. Gail McCann Beatty Golf – Swope Memorial Golf Course – KC – 8AM.

Rep. Dean Plocher Reception - Cantina Laredo - Clayton – 5:30PM.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Committee to Move St. Joseph Forward - $9,000 from Stacchya Gray.

Raise Up Missouri - $7,500 from The Fairness Project.

Missouri Democratic State Committee - $10,000 from United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Reps. Lauren Arthur and Justin Hill, former Reps. Walt Bivins and Penny Hubbard, and lobbyist Mike Reid.