Friday, January 2, 2015

Readers’ Poll: Jefferson City

Best Hotel: Doubletree, 78% (runner-up: Capitol Plaza, 13%).

Best Chicken Wings: Spectators, 37% (runner-up:Lutz BBQ, 31%).

Best Morning Coffee: Coffee Zone, 76% (runner-up: Senate’s coffee nook, 23%). Honorable Mention: Café Roma.

Best Place to Be Seen: Coffee Zone, 38% (runner-up: The Grand, 27%).

Best Place for a Clandestine Meeting: “Why would I tell you?” 43% (runner-up: Nick’s at the Airport, 29%).

Finest Dining: Alexandro's, 48% (runner-up: Arris’ Bistro, 38%).

 

New Senate Staff

According to the Senate’s website, the following staff changes have been made…

Joining Sen. Jeanie Riddle’s staff: Ashley Burke. Burke was Riddle’s LA in the House.

Joining Sen. Paul Wieland’s staff: Lisa Dailey. Dailey was Wieland’s LA in the House.

Joining Sen. Dave Schatz’ staff: Dan Kleinsorge (previously reported), and Karen Roach. Roach was Schatz’ LA in the House.

Joining Sen. Jill Schupp’s staff: Violet Marcel (previously reported), and Wilma Isenberg.

 

Toll Report

Governor Jay Nixon received a “white paper” from MODOT about the prospects for tolling I-70.  The report outlines three scenarios – a “low-end” option for a mere $2 billion would replace the median greens with an additional lane in each direction; a medium cost ($3 billion) option, and a $4 billion high end option which would dedicate additional lanes for trucks and heavy transports.

See the report here.

“MoDOT’s existing state and federal resources are insufficient to fund this project and there are no federal programs distributing additional funds to states for Missouri Department of Transportation interstate improvements.  Currently, MoDOT does not have the ability to incur even $2 billion of debt because of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission’s policy that bond payments may not exceed 20 percent of annual revenues.  Another public entity (i.e., the State of Missouri, a separate tolling authority, or the like) would need to act as a conduit issuer of debt for any I-70 toll option.  Tolling I-70 is a possible way to pay for this project and a public-private partnership is a way to get it quickly underway. Tolling today does not mean stopping to throw quarters in a basket. MoDOT would use a technologically advanced electronic toll collection system that doesn’t require even slowing down or a booth on every ramp.”

 

IDTC Audit

Auditor Tom Schweich issued a report on the Infrastructure Development Tax Credit (IDTC) program. See the audit here.

It’s interesting that the once hot-and-heavy issue of tax credit reform seems to have receded from the collective to-do list.  With state revenues growing again, no big ideas jostling for funding, and the memory of frustrations still lodged in elder legislators’ minds, tax credits programs look like they’re on auto-pilot for a while.

 “With approximately $19.5 million in redemptions in fiscal year 2014, the IDTC was the state's 5th largest tax credit program. Effective July 1, 2010, the MDFB may authorize $10 million in tax credits in a calendar year, but an additional $15 million may be authorized with the approval of the Director of Department of Economic Development, the Director of Department of Revenue, and the Commissioner of Administration, and they have approved credits in excess of the $10 million cap in each of the 3 years ending June 30, 2014.  The IDTC generally does not make up a significant portion of project costs and does not always appear to be necessary for project completion. The economic impact of the IDTC is overstated due to cost-benefit calculations attributing the full impact of each project to the program. For example, for fiscal year 2014, the MDFB reported the IDTC program would return $13.64 in state revenue for every dollar of tax credit authorized. The MDFB based this calculation on total project investments of $675 million and the creation of 8,300 new jobs, even though IDTC incentives only accounted for 5.7 percent of total project funding. State law does not include a sunset provision for many tax credits, including the IDTC program. By adopting a sunset provision, the General Assembly could better determine if the program is achieving its intended purpose and whether program funding should be increased, decreased, or eliminated.”

 

New Committees

Missouri Liberty Alliance, a political action committee, was formed.  Its treasurer, Spencer Pearson, and deputy treasurer Lauien Rose, are cohosts of a pro-legalization podcast called Bowl After Bowl.  See it here.

 

Lobbyist Registrations

Michael White added Matt Alexiou.

Tricia Workman added Associated General Contractors of Missouri; and deleted Associated General Contractors of St. Louis.

Sherry Kuttenkuler added Concerned Women for America of Missouri.

William Moore added Newquest Properties.

Stuart Conrad deleted Sedalia Industrial Energy Users’ Assn, and Praxair Inc.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. Lyle Rowland (59), Brittany Burke, and William Siedhoff.

Saturday: former Sen. Dan Clemens (70).

Sunday: Sen. Rob Schaaf (58), and Adam McBride.