Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Senate Disapproves Increase to Agricultural Land Values

The Senate passed SCR 51 by a vote of 30-1, nullifying the Tax Commission’s recommended increase in the value of agricultural land.  That value determines property taxes.  Rural senators argued that the recent troubles of the farming community – lower prices and natural disasters – made it a “bad time” for the increase.  All but Sen. Joe Keaveny agreed.

In fact there’s rarely been a “good time.”  There has only been one increase in this value in the last twenty years.

As a result of the policy of giving agricultural land an on-going tax break, the discrepancy between the property taxes paid on agricultural and those paid on residential properties continues to grow.  And this exasperates the difference in school funding between suburban and rural communities.  Rural schools receive much lower local support than suburban schools.

Ultimately this is unsustainable.  In the words of Robert Plant: if it keeps on raining, the levee’s gonna break…


Rex Gives $250K to MO Club for Growth PAC

Yesterday Rex Sinquefield was in the large contributions again, giving $250K to the Missouri Club for Growth PAC.

I’m sure there will be lots of speculation where these dollars will land.

Data points: MO Club for Growth PAC gave Catherine Hanaway $100K in 2014; former speaker Tim Jones is now chair of MO Club for Growth; Bev Randles was the former Chair; the executive director is Melanie Abrajano.  Her husband, Todd Abrajano, is running Randles’ campaign; According to MOClub’s 2914 990, his company, Turning Point Public Affairs, was paid $166K to manage the organization.


Less Urgency for Gas Tax?

AP reported last week that “an unexpected bump in tax revenue” would allow the state to qualify for matching federal funds – hundreds of millions of dollars.  See it here.

Pull Quote: “Tax revenue from fuel, licenses and vehicles came in $47 million above projections last fiscal year. And in December, Congress passed the first highway authorization in more than seven years, which guarantees increased transportation funding for the next five years. The Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission voted last week to lift a moratorium on adding projects to its five-year plan... Missouri is expected to receive an average of about $1 billion annually from the five-year federal highway law…  Even though its finances have improved, McKenna said the department will be ‘treading water’ instead of planning new projects until the state finds a long-term solution for transportation funding...”


Allison Moving On

AP reports that Dustin Allison, public counsel for the Public Service Commission, is moving on.  See it here.

Pull Quote: Missouri’s chief advocate for residential customers in utility regulatory cases is stepping down from the job on Feb. 17…. he’s leaving the public counsel’s office to take another job closer to his family in St. Louis. He declined to give further details except to say he will be working as a lawyer outside of state government.


Sweere for House

Bob Sweere started a campaign committee to run for House 137 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent in House 137 is Rep. Lyndall Fraker.  However e previously told the Springfield Business Journal that he’d be running for House 132.  Next month we’ll find out if he misspoke or mis-filed.

That Springfield BJ interview (see it here) also reveals that Sweere doesn’t use email.  So we’ll just say he’s old school.

His law firm does have a web site though; see it here.


Tweet of the Day

From Rep. Justin Alferman‏@Justinalf: I'm starting to think that being a Mizzou professor has the best job security in our state. You may literally do anything & keep your job.


Rumorville: Bradshaw’s Budget?

Source: Brad Bradshaw has been telling people he set aside $2 million to use if anyone that got into the LG primary against him.

If true, Carnahan is still the favorite, but he may have a fight on his hands.


Follow-Up on Kander Owning Voter ID

It could be that while photo ID polls well, the amount of people that is motivates to go out and vote is actually greater on the No side. That is, the people that support it think it is good idea but aren’t overly passionate about it.  On the other hand, the opposition will use it to increase the African American turnout.


Juvenille Justice Bits

Supreme Court “expanded the court’s 2012 decision that struck down mandatory life terms without parole for juveniles and said it must be applied retroactively to what juvenile advocates estimate are 1,200 to 1,500 cases.” See Washington Post article here.

And President Barack Obama penned an op-ed explaining his executive order to ban the use of solitary confinement for juveniles.  See it here.


Jason Tilley Fined

Jason Tilley, brother for former speaker Steven Tilley, was fined $4,340 by the Missouri Ethics Commission for various campaign finance violations from unsuccessful 2014 bid for Perry County Associate Circuit Judge. See it here.


Patterson Starts Treatment

Cerner said yesterday that its CEO, Neal Patterson, was diagnosed with cancer and has begun treatment.  See it here.


DC Bit

From Politico Influence: Gregg Hartley, the former senior staffer to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and William Fox of Cloakroom Advisors are subcontracting from Cassidy & Associates (where Fox used to work) to represent the Organization for Peace and Justice, a Bangladeshi human rights group. They want Congress to condemn the country's war crime tribunal.


Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. Joe Adams Reception – Mo Credit Union, 223 Madison – Jefferson City – 4:30PM.

Mo Land Title Reception – Capitol Plaza, Truman Room – 5PM.


Lobbyists Registrations

James Brown added St Louis Airport Authority, and St. Louis Development Corporation.

Maggie Ellinger-Locke added Marijuana Policy Project.

Frank Plescia added Biotechnology Innovation Organization; and deleted Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Noel Torpey added Jackson County Legislature.

Erik Bergmanis added The Missouri Bar.

Ken McClure added Missouri State University.


$5K+ Contributions

Dr PAC - $12,000 from Cape Radiology Group.

Greitens for Missouri - $5,001 from Paul Haaga.

Missourians for Renewable Energy - $25,000 from Brightergy LLC.



Happy birthdays to Ken Franklin (the big 4-0).