Thursday, September 4, 2014

St. Louis County’s Poverty Traps

It’s a fifteen-minute read, but it’s really something to read.  Right here. It’s a Washington Post expose into the various little municipalities of St. Louis County using their police departments and “court systems” as a profit center and funding mechanism.

I would pull a quote from it, but it’s too interesting for that.


As nice complimentary article, the Post-Dispatch reports that one of the County’s 90 municipalities will “soon have its own police force.”  Read it here. Flordell Hills has 822 residents, and is building a six-person police force.

It’s utterly ridiculous.  It’d be like if St. Louis City had a different police force for each neighborhood.  Except that my neighborhood has 5,000 more people in it than the City of Flordell Hill has…


What To Do?

On Twitter, St. Louis City Committeewoman Marie Ceselski suggested that the state legislature should look at remedying the situation, pointing to the section in statute…. Here.


Other Ferguson Bits

Governor Jay Nixon lifted the state of emergency in Ferguson, eliminating the possibility that he would remove Bob McCulloch from the case.  McCulloch is largely untrusted by the African American leadership…


NYTimes suggests that the odds are mightily against prosecution of Officer Wilson.  Read it here.  “As a grand jury considers the case of Darren Wilson, the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo., Florida’s experience points to both local and national factors making it extraordinarily difficult to prosecute, let alone convict, law enforcement officials for killing someone in the line of duty.”


A new federal probe will look at the Ferguson police.  Read it here.


And an interesting piece on investment firms who bought up distressed housing in Ferguson during the bubble’s collapse.  Read it here.


Cunningham: No Payday Override

Missouri Digital News reports that Sen. Mike Cunningham will not seek an override for this vetoed bill dealing with payday lenders (SB 694).  Read it here.


Nixon Re-Nominates Scott

Governor Jay Nixon made a recess appointment of Bryan Scott to the Highway and Transportation Committee.  Scott’s appointment was derailed during session by Sen. Sen. Kiki Curls.

At the time Curls said it was “not about Bryan Scott,” but rather sending a message to the second floor. “You’re only as good as your word in this building.”

It’s said that she felt she had a commitment from the governor’s office that the governor to appoint a black female to the commission which long-time Jeff City folks say the commission has never had.


Barnes Back-of-the Envelope Math on Noranda Ask

Rep. Jay Barnes tweeted (@jaybarnes5) out a few quick calculations after Noranda’s announcement that they would be cutting jobs from their huge smelter because of the Public Service Commission’s rejection of their rate reduction request.

“‏$48m / 200 = $240k”: Barnes takes the asked for subsidy and divides by the number of jobs cut, suggesting the cost to save each job would be $240,000.

“$30m / 200 jobs = $150k per job per year”:  This is the Office of Public Counsel’s compromise position which Governor Jay Nixon endorsed.

“Boeing only had offer of $20k per job per year”: Drawing a comparison to the special session proposal to lure Boeing’s Dreamliner production.


Revenues Rise

Yesterday the Budget Director Linda Luebbering released the August 2014 revenue collections. “Net general revenue collections for August 2014 increased by 2.7 percent compared to those for August 2013, from $667.2 million to $685.4 million.”  That brings the fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections to $1.2 billion a 4.3% increase over where we were at this point last year.

But there’s reason for greater optimism as the best indicator of the state’s economy – individual income tax collections – showed robust growth.  It increased 7.8% for the month and has grown 8.4% for the year.  Meanwhile sales and use tax collections were flat-ish (1% for the month), and corporate tax collections fell 1.9% for the month.


Comcast Newsmakers

Comcast lobbyist Tom Krewson organizes mini-four minute interviews from time-to-time to run on the cable giant.  You can see the latest batch online now.  See it here.

They contain some little nuggets, though they’re all House Republicans, perhaps shot over the summer caucus weekend…

Speaker Tim Jones – Talks about the veto session and the change in Governor Nixon’s different personality during his second term.

John Diehl – Said his number one priority is qualified workforce.

Eric Burlison – Will take another whack at tort reform next year, and is hoping for an override on his bill to exempt gyms from sales tax.

Kathy Swan – Will file the film tax credit bill again, explaining how it created more tax revenue than it cost.

Caleb Rowden – Thinks ethics reform should be guided by attempting to help the public have more trust in the system.

Joe Don McGaugh – Sounds focused on gun rights issues.  He’ll refile his bill to allow babysitters to use deadly force to defend the home in which their sitting.  He will also refile his bill to allow non-violent felons to retain their right to bear arms.

Sue Allen – Spoke about the governor’s veto – and potential override – of her mental health bill.

Mike Leara – Talked public pensions, and the financial difficulties of moving from defined benefit to defined contributions.

Anne Zerr – Spent most of the time talking about economic development as you would expect since she’s chair of that committee.  She wants to keep targeting life sciences as an industry. But she also mentioned the need for more mental health funding.

Holly Rehder – Continued to pound away on the prescription drug monitoring program, saying our lack of a system makes us “a hotbed for drug seekers.”

Rocky Miller – Says he’s sold his firm and is “recently retired.”  He talks a lot about tourism, e

Keith Frederick – Outlines a plan to bring doctors who haven’t “matched” a residency to rural Missouri.

Caleb Jones – Reviewed his law to allow hemp extract for medical uses.

Kurt Bahr – Talked about his common core bill.  His original “hard-nosed” position was to force negotiation and end up with a reasonable bill.

Denny Hoskins – Talked about taxed bill that the governor vetoed.



ATT unveils that it’s bringing 1Gig/sec download speeds to St. Louis.  See it here.


The opponents of the Teachgreat ballot initiative to limit teacher tenure filed their appeal yesterday, after losing a lower court decision.


Thanks to the peerless John Combest for his morning links or I’d have missed this Op/Ed piece by Republican consultant Miles Ross on crisis management lessons from Ferguson.  See it here.


Fundraising Calendar

Today’s fundraising events from Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

House Republican Campaign Committee Montelle Winery Reception – Augusta.

Rep. Gail McCann Beatty Golf – Swope Memorial Golf Course, Kansas City.

Rep. Don Phillips Golf – LedgeStone Country Club, Branson.


$5K+ Contributions

Cooperative Owners Political Action Committee (COPAC) - $10,000 from Missouri ACRE.

MADA Dealers Interested in Government - $10,000 from MADA Services Corporation.

Friends of Diehl - $10,000 from Pinnacle Entertainment.

United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655 Elect Political Action Fund - $6,513 from United Food & Commercial Workers Local 300.

Truman Leadership PAC - $6,000 from OCM Lease Corporation.

Citizens for Will Kraus - $10,000 from Grow Missouri.

Friends of Rick Stream - $10,000 from Ann Scott.


Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to Jane Cunningham!