Monday, May 2, 2016

Budget bits

A few notes on the budget…

For the second year in a row the budget was completed weeks before the constitutionally required deadline. Instead of racing to meet the deadline on May 6, taxpayers and stakeholders will be hearing from the governor on that date whether he intends to sign or veto the budget.

The early completion of the budget is a testament to how well the House and Senate worked together this year.  And Rep. Scott Fitzpatrick also deserves a big at-a-boy for swooping in during the 11th hour and capably finishing the race for the flu-stricken Rep. Tom Flanigan...

Fitzpatrick is the real deal. As evidenced by floor debate, the details of the budget seem to come natural to him. Speaker Todd Richardson’s decision on who replaces Flanigan as House budget

chairman looks like a no-brainer.

On the Senate side, things are not so clear. Sen. Ryan Silvey is the vice-chair of Appropriations with experience as House Budget Chair.  Yet the hallway thinks that Sen. Dan Brown is favored by Pro Tem Ron Richard.

The House insisted on leaving money “on the bottom line” for next year's

supplemental budget. ($24 million remains for the next governor and General Assembly for a FY17 supplemental budget.)

Lobbyists who meet with the administration are walking away feeling comfortable that the governor will veto little, if anything, in the FY17 budget but... the administration has legitimate concerns about a replay of the final week of the 2014 session when multiple “Friday Favors” jeopardized a balanced budget.  A similar replay would probably provoke the governor to start the FY17 budget off with withholds – angering educators, legislators, and the provider community alike.

Other highlights from the budget: successfully revived the cost share program once ran by MoDOT and use just a reasonable amount of general revenue to do so. ($20 million to kick start the program again); negotiated the same exact in-state tuition agreement with higher education that the governor obtained back in September, saving taxpayers $19 million and keeping families happy with no tuition increases next year; moving women’s health funding away from federal money to state funds may bring a lawsuit by Planned Parenthood or its allies.


Follow-Up on Nolte Ridgeway Spat

The Northland News continues to report on the Clay County Commission schism… In their latest report it looks like the origins of the spat between Commissioners Jerry Nolte and Luann Ridgeway and Gene Owens may have something to do with allegations of public funds for campaign-like activity.  See the Northland article hereSee the allegations here.

Pull Quote: received a tip last night that there was a case filed in Clay County Circuit Court dealing with Commissioners Ridgeway and Owen… The 8 page petition was filed by Liberty attorney Steven Wolcott on behalf of Gladstone resident Gary Markenson. The petition alleges misuse of county tax dollars stemming from birthday cards, “accountability cards,” and coupons for Jesse James Farm and Museum that were sent to Clay County citizens...


More Endorsements Ahead of Utility Reg Bill Debate

With two weeks left, folks are readying for the Senate to debate the alternative regulatory framework proposed by the investor owned utilities and Noranda.  Coming on board recently with letters of support sent to legislators… Dan Mehan of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce (who writes that updating the state’s energy policies are a key component of the organization’s 15 year strategic plan) and Blake Hurst of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation.


Rumorville: Reps Eye Exit?

Rep. Tony Dugger is rumored to be mulling a resignation.  According to the rumor Dugger is interested in pursuing a lobbying career and would exit before the new “revolving door” ethics law takes effect.  Dugger is term-limited.

That law – HB 1979 – creates a waiting period to register as a lobbyist “until six months after the expiration of any term of office for which such person was elected…”

Whether the specific rumor is true or not, it does raise the prospect that there may be others with an eye on the door before the bill becomes law – which might impact a September veto session…



The end of the Missourians for Honest Leadership PAC…  Anyone remember this one?  It was the vehicle for Becky Bowman… the ex-wife of Attorney General Chris Koster.  She contributed $200K to the PAC to oppose him in his 2008 race.  See it here.  Well the PAC terminated last month, after giving its final $3K to Teresa Hensley’s AG campaign.


In the large contributions below, see that the Vote No on the E-Tax PAC gave its remaining funds – a hefty $668K – to the new Great St. Louis PAC.


Missouri Ethics Commission fined Connie Fults $1,000 for various violations.  See it here.  Fults ran for Chesterfield City Council.


And it looks like Chris Koster thinks a candidate Trump helps him.  From his latest fundraising blast… Missourians will have a clear choice this fall when they vote for governor: a proven leader who knows how to build coalitions to get things done, or a Donald Trump disciple who will carry water for special interest groups….


NYTimes reports on “Madison Avenue” teaming up it the marijuana industry.  See it here.  Pull Quote: The partnership is an unusual step for a mainstream ad agency, which would usually focus on individual brands rather than an entire — and not uniformly legal — industry.


eMailbag: Senate 23 Poll

Lobbyist: These results have got to be an anomaly…


eMailbag: on Schaefer Allegations

Lobbyist: The obvious play is to give Tim Wolfe immunity and see what he actually says...

Observer: Amazing that he did this himself and not through a curator or something.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Reps. Allen Andrews, Chuck Basye, Dean Plocher & John Wiemann Reception – MO Soybean Assn. – Jefferson City – 6PM or after adjournment.

Rep. Sue Meredith Reception – Licklider’s,– Jefferson City – 6PM or after adjournment.


Lobbyists Registrations

Ben Wallerstein added Whiteboard Advisors, and Hobsons.

James Gwinner added American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity.


$5K+ Contributions

Koster for Missouri - $10,000 from Stephen Smith.

New Approach Missouri - $50,000 from Emerald City Holdings LP.

New Approach PAC - $65,000 from New Approach PAC.

Great St Louis - $668,337 from Vote No on the E-Tax.



Happy birthdays to Scott Dieckhaus and Jac Cardetti.



To Minority Leader Jake Hummel and Sarah Wood Martin on the birth of their child, Emma Wood Hummel.