Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Kansas Revenue Projections Shrink Again

Kansas’ tax revenues are still underperforming previous projections.  See the article here.

The $400 million shortfall and its meaning is debated in Missouri.  Opponents of aggressive tax cuts in Missouri point to the budget mess created by the Brownback tax cuts as proof that the supply side ideology is flawed.

 

Possible PSC Action Draws More Statements

Supporting the Noranda Rate Reduction

“One thing Governor Nixon and Republicans can agree on is the importance of jobs in Missouri.  We are appreciative of the Governor’s support for protecting jobs in southeast Missouri.  The fact is ALL of Ameren’s customers will annually save over $20 million if Noranda is able to remain in business.  This solution supported by the Governor, Office of Public Counsel, and consumer groups will benefit all ratepayers across the state.” – Sens. Doug Libla and Wayne Wallingford.

Kinder to Nixon

“As the advocate for Missouri seniors, nearly all of whom are on fixed income, I take great offense to your support and press release advocating for a massive rate shift to benefit a single corporation on the backs of Missouri senior citizens.”  See the whole Peter Kinder letter here.  It’s interesting because he references his work as Senate President Pro Tem a dozen years ago to pass a bill that gave Noranda flexibility in their electricity purchases.

 

Kirby to Lewis Rice

David Kirby, campaign aide to Chris Koster, will be joining the law firm of Lewis Rice to manage their government solutions and administrative law practice in Jeff City.  Kirby has worked for Koster in various capacities and previously worked for Claire McCaskill.

 

Follow-Up on Earl

I wrote yesterday that Auditor staffer Jeffrey Earl was weighing an offer from Team Greitens.  I’m told today that there’s also interest in his talents from Team Parson, and he hasn’t made any definite plans for his post-Auditor career.

 

Legislative Humdrum

The last few days have been characterized by a lack of excitement as the two chamber go about their business while awaiting for the budget leaders to finish a package of compromises and move forward with conference committee.

We’re getting to the point in the game where people are glancing up at the clock more and more.  After this week, there are three weeks left.

In the Senate – where time is critical to pass anything controversial – there’s a wariness among Democrats about which major Republican priorities will get the final push, and whether there will be time to hammer out compromises or whether things will result in a PQ.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed has her eyes on HJR1.  That’s Rep. Tony Dugger’s voter ID resolution.  It’s currently in Fiscal Oversight.

While Nasheed will fight to block it in the Senate, she wonders if Republicans have miscalculated with the legislation.  She thinks that Voter ID will be viewed in the black community as an attempt to take away their power of voting, and if it’s on the ballot it will heighten black turnout and hurt statewide Republican candidates.

We’ll see…

 

Hannegan in House 65

I wrote a few weeks ago that Tom Hannegan has started a campaign committee to run in House 65.  It will likely be a contested primary, but Hannegan – endorsed by incumbent Rep. Anne Zerr – and well-known in the St. Charles community starts the race in good position.

What makes Hannegan’s candidacy interesting is that, if elected, he’d be the only openly gay Republican in the legislature.

With public opinion’s sweeping move toward acceptance of gay rights and same-sex couples, it’d be beneficial for the House Republicans to have gay representation within their caucus as it might dissuade some of their more recent embarrassing forays into the issue.

 

Jones to Take Reins of MO Club for Growth?

A press release last week noted that Bev Randles would be stepping down as chairwoman of Missouri Club for Growth to focus on her nascent lieutenant governor bid.  Observers wonder if that vacancy at the top of the million-dollar PAC is now filled by former speaker Tim Jones.  Together with his own substantial war-chest from his candidate days, Jones could become a must-meet for any aspiring Republican pol.

 

St. Louis County Pooling Change Approved in House

A change to the sales tax pooling system in St. Louis County passed the House yesterday.  See Virginia Young’s article here.

The bill also included authorization for a new sales tax in unincorporated St. Louis County which could raise an additional $16 million for policing services.

Virginia Young tweeted a list of the winners and losers in the new pooling scheme.  See it here and here.

And

Better Together is releasing their report on policing in the St. Louis region.  Find it here.  Once again, their work shows how the fragmented nature of St. Louis County creates a patchwork application (or a mess depending on your point of view).  “Data shows that some departments provide everything from body armor to service weapons to radios to winter caps. Other departments provide nothing more than a badge and an identification card. Still others issue body armor only ‘when funds are available.’ The fragmented nature of St. Louis City and St. Louis County also impacts dispatch. Twenty-one separate dispatches handle calls for service for the 60 police departments in the St. Louis County region.”

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Administrative Professionals Day.

Rice Day – 2nd floor inner hallway Senate side of the building – 11:30-1PM.

Rep. J Eggleston, Patricia Pike, John Wiemann Reception – HRCC Office – 5:30-7:30PM or upon adjournment.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for John Brunner - $5,001 from Friends of Thomas Long.

Missourians for Randles - $25,000 from Missourians for Tim Jones.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Sen. Gary Romine (59).