Tuesday, January 17, 2017


Greitens Announces Withholds

Governor Eric Greitens announced $146 million in withholds.  See them here.  Higher Education took the biggest hit… $80 million worth of withholds.

Press release: Despite the dismal situation inherited from the previous administration, Governor

Greitens reiterated his commitment to funding Missouri families' priorities like K-12 education and public safety. "Not a single penny will be taken out of K-12 classrooms," Greitens promised in a social media video accompanying the announcement…

Greitens’ withholds took $8.6 million out of the DESE transportation budget which has the same impact as taking it out of classrooms.  There’s no difference to superintendents managing the overall budget.  Perhaps Greitens’ team learned this one from Jay Nixon.  He used to make the exact same misleading statement.


State of State Preview

In the press release on the withholds, it says that “Governor Greitens will detail his plans to reduce government waste and grow the economy during his State of the State address tomorrow.”

Previously it was expected that Greitens would use his State of State to rehash his legislative agenda – right to work, tort reform, education saving accounts, blue alert etc.  This could still be the case.  He may frame reducing tax credits as “reducing government waste.”

What will be most interesting is what level of details – either in the speech or release by his team in coordination with the speech – will emerge about some of the thornier issues like education savings accounts and tax credit reform. Both could stumble in the supermajority Republican legislature depending on what the details of the proposal are.

Finally, one wonders if Greitens will take any swipes at the general assembly for passing a budget (and tax cuts, tax credits, and tax exemptions) that put him in the situation of having to make withholds?

The speech starts at 7:30PM.


JMO: Tax Policies Have Consequences

Empower Missouri says that Greitens doesn’t deserve the blame for the withholds.  Instead there are structural issues brought on by policy choice…

Here are the four Missouri tax policy failures that repeatedly create the need to withhold revenue from essential state programs:

1)      Voters in our state helped to create our repeated budget woes by passing the Hancock Amendment in 1980.  A second revenue-limiting amendment was passed in 1996, forcing the General Assembly to take most revenue-producing ideas to the voters for approval.

2)      The General Assembly has repeatedly cut taxes over the past fifteen years - with cuts totaling nearly a billion dollars cumulatively….

3)      The General Assembly has not updated our graduated tax table since 1931 - leaving our state with an outdated, unfair and inadequate revenue system - and one that is harder to fix with every year that passes.

4)      Missouri is one of only six states allowing a deduction on state taxes for federal taxes paid. The wealthiest 40 percent of Missourians receive 83% of the benefit of this tax feature, and the tally of funds not collected due to it in the most recent year for which we have data was $589



Right To Work Week in the House?

Legislature doesn’t convene until 4PM today.  So the best guess is that the House will debate and perfect right to work on Wednesday with passage on Thursday.  We’ll see…


Rumorville: Germinder to Greitens

Rumor is that Rich Germinder – currently on Sen. Dan Hegeman’s staff – is headed to the Greitens administration to be the liaison at Department of Natural Resources.


Calzone Beats Rap

Non-lobbyist lobbyist Ron Calzone gets a pass from the Missouri Ethics Commission which says it can’t be proved that he was lobbying on behalf of his organization Missouri First.  He claims he was only representing himself personally – not his organization.  See the dismissal here.


Webber Talks About MDP Future

Post-Dispatch reports on MDP Chair Stephen Webber working to revive the party’s prospects. See it here.

Pull Quote: Winning statewide elections won’t change the state much if Democrats can’t get votes outside their urban strongholds. Only Rep. Ben Harris of Hillsboro and Rep. Pat Conway of St. Joseph won districts outside the state’s four largest cities last year…. Webber put some of the blame for the losses on gerrymandered districts after the 2010 census, which drew a court challenge that the Missouri Supreme Court declined to indulge….

But then there’s the other question, one Webber has a harder time answering: Can Democrats, whose national identity has moved left on social and moral issues in recent years, deliver a message that resonates in areas where traditional values still reign supreme?..


Charging Stations Violations?

MOScout tipster: At a Public Service Commission hearing on Thursday regarding an Ameren proposed pilot program to install electric vehicle charging stations on the I-70 corridor, PSC staff testified that they believe Tesla charging stations (and any other 3rd party charging stations) that are currently operating in Missouri are doing so illegally. Staff attorney refused to say if complaint cases against the companies will be filed by staff.


Barnes on Nixon

Rep. Jay Barnes – on his blog – says farewell to Jay Nixon…See it here.

For the past six years, I have been one of Gov. Nixon’s fiercest critics in the General Assembly… When Gov. Nixon walked off the public stage Monday, so did my criticisms. The slings and arrows of public service can be rough. If you’re going to be around for a while, you must develop alligator skin.

It is popular to deride “career politicians” but the fact is that Jay Nixon spent 28 consecutive years in government service. At any point in time over the last 20 years, he could have said, “Enough. I can make four to five times more money in the private sector and won’t have to deal with harsh critics in the newspaper (or the legislature).”  Gov. Nixon chose service. For that, he has mine and deserves every Missourian’s deep appreciation.


Judge Vacancy

Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 10.28(d), the Twenty-Second Circuit Judicial Commission releases the following information relating to applicants for the circuit court judge vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Thomas J. Frawley…  Deborah Bird, Matthew Devoti, Annette Llewellyn, Michael Brockland, Katherine Fowler Joan Miller, David Bruns,

Bridget Halquist, Scott Millikan, Theresa Counts Burke, Richard Harper, Deborah Price, Mary Pat Carl, Heather Hays, David Roither, Francisco Carretero, Craig Higgins, Jason Sengheiser, Thom C. Clark II, Heather Highland, Ian Simmons, Nicole Colbert-Botchway, Teneil Kellerman, Calea Stovall-Ried, Michael Colona, Jessica W. Kennedy, Jolene Taaffe, Madeline Connolly, James Leightner, Lisl Williams, Katharyn Davis, and Levell Littleton.


Tweet of the Weekend

Titus Bond‏@TitusBond: Weathermen in KC now have an idea of what a pollster feels like on Election Day. #winterstormjupiter



New Gubby dress code...  Drew got the memo.


Former St. Lousian Andy Puzder – Trump’s choice for Labor – may be bailing… See it here.


Brownback proposed increasing the KS cigarette tax another dollar to $2.29/pack.  Missouri’s is at 17 cents…


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Joe Adams Reception – 223 Madison St. – Jefferson City – 4PM.


Lobbyists Registrations

Dawn Nicklas added Scenic Missouri; and deleted The Humane Society of the United States, and United Here Local 74.

Jay Hahn added Missouri Restaurant Association.

Noel Torpey added Missouri Hospital Association.

Nancy Giddens, Quintin Hull, and Shannon Cooper added St. Louis County & Yellow Cab.

Quintin Hull added TMX Finance LLC, Railway Supply Institute, and Public School Retirement System of the School District of Kansas City MO.

Richard McIntosh and Zach Brunnert added Syrtis Solutions.


$5K+ Contributions

Midwest Region Laborers’ Political League Education Fun - $6,641 from Laborers Supplemental Dues Fund.



Happy birthday to Floor Leader Mike Kehoe.