Friday, May 8, 2015

So You Know

Today is Truman Day – a state holiday.  And the Senate is in session.


eMailbag on My Two RTW Theories

As of earlier this week, the Senate count is one vote short of a PQ.  And 18 ain’t 23; there aren't the votes for override in either House, not even close.  Theory 1 is much closer to reality, especially with the various statewide ambitions of Parson and others in play. One would question why upend the Senate for something that will never become law, or at least has no chance without a pro-RTW governor in office?


Who Will SB 5 Put Out of Biz

The number crunchers at Better Together put together a list of St. Louis County municipalities and how they will fare under SB5’s 12.5% revenue cap for tickets and fines.

Here are the top twenty biggest losers.

Muni              Current % in fines         Revenue Gap at 12.5%      Gap as % of Budget

Bella Villa            55.81%                           $280,337                            43.31%

Vinita Terrace      49.67%                          $86,872                              37.17%

Pine Lawn            47.79%                          $1,350,991                         35.29%

Calverton Park     46.53%                          $247,783                            34.03%

Normandy            38.48%                          $1,103,933                         25.98%

St. Ann                 36.97%                          $2,230,028                         24.47%

Edmundson          33.20%                          $332,257                            20.70%

Moline Acres        30.03%                           $283,882                            17.53%

Charlack               28.95%                          $166,151                            16.45%

Breckenridge Hills   28.83%                      $352,921                            16.33%

Cool Valley          26.89%                           $181,227                            14.39%

Bellerive               26.60%                           $34,543                              14.10%

St. John                25.67%                           $505,062                            13.17%

Northwoods         25.38%                           $337,634                            12.88%

Bel-Ridge             24.94%                           $184,289                            12.44%

Beverly Hills        24.04%                           $96,792                              11.54%

Velda City           22.64%                           $105,659                            10.14%

Uplands Park       21.94%                           $36,505                                9.44%

Flordell Hills        20.71%                           $42,416                                8.21%

Hillsdale               18.26%                           $48,026                                5.76%


Stegmann Moves Up

Ronda Stegmann who is the executive director of the Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement (the job I posted yesterday) took a position at MOSERS.  She will be the new Legislative and Policy Coordinator.  She is replacing Judy Delaney who is retiring.


New IPs Filed

Late yesterday afternoon Super-Attorney Chuck Hatfield filed two versions of proposed constitutional amendments that would prohibit expanding taxes to include services. It is said the filings are preliminary, exploratory and any campaign kickoff is months away. And more  versions are likely to be filed.

The two versions filed Thursday…

Version 1

“Be it resolved by the people of the state of Missouri that the Constitution be amended: Article X is amended by adding one new section to be known as Section 26, to read as follows: Section 26. The state is hereby prohibited from imposing a sales or use tax on any service or activity that was not subject to a sales or use tax on January 1, 2015.”

Version 2

“Be it resolved by the people of the state of Missouri that the Constitution be amended: Article X is amended by adding one new section to be known as Section 26, to read as follows: Section 26. The state is hereby prohibited from imposing any new tax on services or activities that were not subject to tax on January 1, 2015.”


Hatfield's client is Missourians for Fair Taxation, a political action committee supported by the 18,000-member Missouri Association of REALTORS.  Hatfield says the amendment would not only help protect homebuyers from higher bottom-line costs, but protect all users of typical daily services ranging from banking to attorneys to tattoo artists to manicures to hair cutting. There are more than 40 types of professionals licensed by the state, all providing services, from landscape architects to dentists to embalmers.


The Missouri REALTORS and their veteran lobbyist Sam Licklider have a record of being farsighted and ahead of the curve in pressing for popular consumer protections, particularly those protections that help homebuyers. In 2010, the REALTORS put on the ballot a constitutional ban on transfer taxes, which are like sales taxes on real estate deals. The that measure passed overwhelmingly (83.7% in favor).

Hatfield said the REALTORS are continuing their practice of farsighted consumer protection because they want to head off expanding sales taxes on services that will put home ownership beyond the grasp of many Missourians.

Imagine the coalition that could rally behind such a proposal: liberals who loathe the inherently regressive nature of the sales tax, plus professional and trade associations from across the business world. Conservatives will like the firewall against more taxes. And because it is revenue-neutral it would do no harm to current spending.


Crisis What Crisis?

The Joint Committee on Public Employee Retirement had its 2nd quarterly meeting on May 5. Not all plans have submitted their first quarter financials for 2015, but the majority of reports submitted show a higher ending market value than beginning value.

Last year, Tom Schweich issued the Survey of Public Employee Retirement Systems in Missouri that showed varied financial condition among plans – very good to very poor – and reported that the aggregate funded ratio of Missouri plans has decreased from 83% to 78 % between 2003 - 2012, but noted that Missouri has higher than average aggregate funded ratios.  In other words, Missouri plans are stronger than most.

Still some are still gunning for pension reform.  Some education advocates see teacher pensions as an obstacle to school reform. For others pension funds are coveted because they represent a huge opportunity for the private markets.

However the Schweich review did not make a great case for troubled pension funds.  And last year the five largest state plans all reported improvements in their unfunded ratio and their market returns.  Furthermore all plans with the exception of three smaller plans have no problem making their annual required contribution.  All this recent news will likely make it more difficult for folks pursing pension reform.


Ripples from InternGate

Tweet from Post-Dispatch’s VirginiaYoung… @VirginiaYoung: Legislators introduce interns on floor. But House refused my sunshine request for intern list. Cited Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act.


Lobbyists Registrations

Steven Tilley added Swinger, McKillip, Culver.

Stacy Shore deleted Concerned Women For America Of Missouri.

Rich Heddens deleted Novartis Vaccines.


$5K+ Contributions

The Friends of Matt Sims - $10,000 from KSSM LLC.

Notes on Money

Sims is one of the candidates which to succeed term-limited Rep. Eric Burlison.



Happy birthdays to Pro Tem Tom Dempsey (48), and Rep. Jeanie Lauer (51).

Saturday: Gregg Keller (38), Scott Penman (47), and John Ashcroft (73)

Sunday: Rep. Ron Hicks (43).