Monday, March 13, 2017

MOSERS To Meet Today?

Word is that MOSERS has scheduled a special board meeting for this afternoon to react to the legislature’s questioning of their appropriations request.

As I wrote last week the House is mulling not fully funding MOSERS’ board’s request this year.

Their resistance is based, at least in part, on some assumptions that MOSERS had made which they feel are illogical.  But also by the fact that in a challenging budget year a $40+ million increase seems like a herculean task.

Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick, while cool to this request, is said to be committed to fully funding the state’s pension plan.  A supporter of the House position points out that the difference between fully funding the pension based on MOSERS’ plan and that being suggested by the House is only couple of years.

Furthermore, the board of MOSERS looks quite different now than it did when it approved their request. Three of the four legislators are new since the year began, as well as the state treasurer and the commissioner of OA.  So they might be open to a second look.

Fitzpatrick’s substitute budget bills will likely drop on Wednesday; that may be the first public indication whether the House and MOSERS have come to some agreement.


Ferguson Unrest

Unrest began to bubble up in Ferguson again after a documentary released a previously unseen video of Michael Brown at the Ferguson Market.  Ferguson Market attorney Jay Kranzler says the full video will be released today and it doesn’t confirm the documentary’s angle.  See the Post-Dispatch story here.

Hopefully Governor Greitens’ command presence won’t be necessary.


Circuit-Breaker Change

At 12:30PM the House Legislative Oversight Rules Committee will hear Budget Chair Scott Fitzpatrick’s House Committee Bill 3 which would eliminate the renters’ portion of the circuit-breaker tax credit and create the Missouri Senior Services Protection Fund to keep other programs funded.


Joint Editorial Begs Greitens to Stop His Hidin’ Ways

The Post-Dispatch and the Kansas City Star published a “joint” editorial calling on Governor Eric Greitens to stop hiding his donors and stop hiding from real questions.  See it here.  “[W]e also hope Greitens summons the courage to hold a full-blown press conference. Missourians want more than a Facebook governor…”


From one long-time media observer… A duplicate editorial between the two largest Missouri daily newspapers is so unusual that it's nationally notable. To be sure, the big papers often editorialized concurrently but coincidentally on the same subjects because the subjects are in the news. But a verbatim duplicate set of criticisms on both pages shows the two papers recognize strength in numbers. And the press needs to hang together to press for transparency by public officials.   This is a way of keeping up the pressure.

Do Greitens and his team care that it is Sunshine Week or that Missouri's two biggest papers called him out in a chorus? Not likely, based on the record. They should. It raises a legitimate question: what does he have to hide? The joint editorial has gotten the attention of national reporters, who the ambitious Greitens does seem to care more about.

It's not unusual for the media to write editorials about government openness and transparency during the annual recognition of Sunshine Week. But running verbatim editorials only reinforces an image among media-haters that liberal media run in a pack to advance their agenda. To them, the joint editorial is affirmation of media whining, and is another reason mainstream media becomes marginalized by pols who prefer taking their unfiltered messages directly to voters via social media.


On Ameren’s Income Tax

The Washington Post report that 18 huge companies – including Ameren – pay nothing in income tax, led to this response…

Ameren Missouri's taxes are set by both the Missouri State Tax Commission and the Missouri Public Service Commission. If Ameren Missouri is able to execute the $1B grid plan it would result in over $55M in new tax dollars with total tax dollars from utility grid investment possibly exceeding $100M over the next five years. As school and/or road funding continues to be a budget challenge there may be opportunities to use these tax dollars to fill holes.


Barnes Against HB460

Rep. Jay Barnes gives a lengthy dissection of HB460 – one of the many tort reform bills the House has passed this session.  See it here.

Pull Quote: [I]f passed in its current state, HB 460 will increase the number of lawsuits, resulting in more depositions, more motions, more hearings, more experts, more trials, and more costs for everyone. There’s nothing conservative at all about that.

House Bill 460 is a scam. Like a shady car dealer trying to sell you a lemon, the proponents are relying on the fact that some buyers won’t look into the details – and hope you’re one of them. They say one thing, but their true goal is something else – it’s take away the rights of ordinary citizens just like you…


US Attorney of Eastern MO Joins Twitterverse

Interesting timing for US Attorney Richard Callahan's office to launch a Twitter account, at 3:47pm Thursday, just as Obama appointees are being asked for resignations...

See it here.


Smith Defends Tweeter-in-Chief

In Congressman Jason Smith’s weekly “Capitol Report” he sounds like a guy who actually thinks President Donald Trump was wiretapped and wasn’t just Tweeting whatever random thought happened to across his mind…

[I]t’s easy to see why the Obama Administration would be motivated to wiretap

the Trump campaign and find information to prevent Trump from being elected - the

preservation of their liberal policies and Obama’s legacy was at stake. They wanted

Hillary Clinton – another president who would spend too much, tax too much and try

to rewrite the Constitution in order to encroach upon the very liberties our country

was founded on. Scared of what Trump would do to their legacy, the Obama White House

might do anything to ensure that a true agent of change didn’t take over… We are just beginning to scratch the surface of the executive overreach and manipulation by the previous administration during the 2016 election. In the coming months, the facts will rise to the surface and we will know more about if, when and how the Obama White House may have worked to undermine the democratic process…


eMailbag on GOP Senate Primary

I disagree that Ann Wagner's primary will be merely a nuisance. She is an extremely vulnerable insider who completely miss played the Trump candidacy. Conservatives are very angry with her. The question is whether the conservatives can rally around one good conservative candidate…


eMailbag on Wagner Seat

“A surprising number of Dems will look at the 2nd Congressional as well if Wagner jumps. Could be interesting depending on the nominee…”


eMailbag: More on Greitens-Herzog Connection

Remember during Governor Eric Greitens’ state-of-the-state address that Brad Lager was sitting in the gallery with members of the governor's staff and cabinet. Lager works for Stan Herzog in Northwest Missouri….


MEC Moves

The Missouri Ethics Commission dismissed a complaint against Chris MorenoSee it here.


And it fined Rep. Kevin Corlew $100 for a missing “paid for” disclosure.  See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Andrew Weber added JRB Investments LLC; and deleted The Millstone Company, and Caplaco Fourteen Inc.

Kelvin Simmons added Safe and Strong Missouri.

Patricia Churchill added Ebay, AT Government Strategies LLC, and Armstrong Teasdale LLP.


$5K+ Contributions

Committee to Elect Reed - $10,000 from Eubank Storage LLC.

Committee to Elect Reed - $10,000 from United Here Union Local #74.

Committee to Elect Reed - $50,000 from Thelma or David Steward.

Lyda Krewson for Mayor - $25,000 from Michael Neidorff.

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from Ch2M Hill Engineers Inc.

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from Kansas City Industrial Council.

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from HNTB Corporation.

Progress KC PAC - $10,000 from Black & Veatch Corporation.

West Central Missouri Regional Lodge #50 Fraternal Order of Police PAC - $10,000 from West Central MO Lodge 50.