Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Withholder-in-Chief

Governor Jay Nixon announced line-item vetoes and withholds to the budget yesterday citing the possibility that the tax exemptions he vetoed will be overridden, the lack of tobacco money, and various other new spending by the legislature.

 

His specific line item vetoes can be found here:

HB 2002 – Education – here.

HB 2003 – Higher Education – here.

HB 2004 – Revenue and Transportation – here.

HB 2005 – Transportation, Public Safety – here.

HB 2006 – Conservation, Natural Resources and Agricultural – here.

HB 2007 – Economic Development, Insurance, Labor – here.

HB 2008 – Public Safety – here.

HB 2009 – Corrections – here.

HB 2010 – Mental Health, Senior Services – here.

HB 2011 – Social Services – here.

HB 2012 – Public Defender, General Assemble – here.

HB 2013 – Property leases – here.

 

 

Speaker Tim Jones statement

“The governor is back to his same tricks, once again, as he engages in his annual political game of holding our system of public education hostage. This is a governor who tells the public he wants to invest in our young people, but then is all too willing to make school funding his first target and show that public education is his lowest priority when he does not get his way. In this case he is withholding public education funding as leverage to stifle the legislature’s efforts to create jobs, reduce taxes and rein in his administration’s constant attempts to over-tax Missourians and Missouri businesses. The people of this state should not stand for a governor who provides no leadership on issues that would grow our economy while also serving as a roadblock to our efforts to increase funding to education.”

 

CWA Local 6355 Statement

CWA Local 6355 members working in the Missouri Department of Social Services, Health and Senior Services and in the foster care system reacted to the news that Governor Nixon has targeted them for nearly $20 million in funding restrictions and vetoes with utter dismay.  St Louis area eligibility specialist Holly Roe said that the cuts were a “slap in the face,” to Missouri’s state workers – already the most poorly paid state government employees in the nation… 

 

But there’s poison in the weeds of these withholds that are nearly as bad for state workers.  Many of the Governor’s restrictions and vetoes will make successfully doing very difficult work nearly impossible…

 

CWA Local 6355 members understand that the General Assembly passed an irresponsible, unbalanced budget.  We understand that the General Assembly gave away too many tax breaks to well financed special interests.  We know that the tax cut the General Assembly passed will make a few millionaires much more comfortable at the expense of nearly every average Missourian in the coming years.  We also know that Governor Nixon has some degree of latitude in deciding what he will veto and what he will restrict.  It is outrageous that our elected officials in the legislative and executive branches have decided to double down on making Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens and the public workers who serve them pay for their political games…

 

 

Raises Stakes on HJR 72?

Nixon’s ability to use the budget as leverage in his battles with the legislature raise the possibility that future governors will see withholds as a powerful tool to advance their agenda.

 

Rep. Todd Richardson’s HJR 72 (see it here) will give voters a chance to rein in the governor’s power.

 

“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to require the governor to pay the public debt, to prohibit the governor from relying on revenue from legislation not yet passed when proposing a budget, and to provide a legislative check on the governor’s decisions to restrict funding for education and other state services?”

 

And if it does pass, there will likely be some continuing battles over its implementation and interpretation…

 

 

Nixon Vetoes Student Transfer Bill

Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the student transfer bill.  This had been a long-time coming.  He’d telegraphed the veto during session, though reformers hopefully walked the halls thinking maybe he wouldn’t.  Now he has.

 

Dueling statements out of the House Democratic caucus demonstrate the lack of unity on the issue.

 

Rep. Tommie Pierson Statement

"Governor Nixon is to be commended for decisively vetoing SB 493, an anti-public education bill masquerading as a fix to the flawed student transfer law that is pushing previously financially stable districts into bankruptcy…  Unproven educational experimentation on young black children will not provide them the quality public education they deserve. With the governor's veto of SB 493, the General Assembly has another chance to fix the transfer law without undermining local public schools. For the sake of all Missouri children, it must not fail again."

 

 

Rep. Courtney Curtis Statement

“The General Assembly worked diligently this session to provide a solution to our failing school districts in Missouri.  Though SB 493 was not perfect, the bill does provide some solutions to the student transfer issue that the governor continuously ignores. We have now headed into uncharted territory and this veto leaves us with fewer options.  It's abundantly clear that DESE does not have the right answers or solution, and now with this veto, it has put our children at risk for the following school year...”

 

 

Jones: Stenger is “Political Zero”

Mike Jones, staffer to Charlie Dooley: “I’m here this evening because Steve Stenger seems to be looking for me and I’m not that hard to find, so I thought I show up this evening, and to your point… I can talk to whoever I want to and you can take a number and after I’m done with him I’ll handle you too.  In your entire worthless political life you have never spoken to any issue that affects black children, black adults in any shape, form or fashion.  And what I’m really taken back by, in fact almost speechless, that you would think I would let a political zero like you use black children to benefit their personal political agenda.  That’s not going to happen.  So next week you’re going to have your committee of the whole meeting.  It’s going to be me and you. You get your committee of the whole meeting and I get a chance to kill a hyena.”

 

See the mighty Jason Rosenbaum’s story here.

 

 

Elmer Blues

I missed this last week, but it looks like Rep. Kevin Elmer has gotten iced out for a while.  He was planning to run for a judgeship then withdrew to seek a different judgeship, then attempted to reenter the first race when the second one didn’t pan out.  And he got locked out.

 

See the Springfield News-Leader story here.

 

 

 

Solar Advocates Sue PSC

Post-Dispatch has the story here.

 

Pull Quote: “The lawsuit is another counterattack from environmental groups against Missouri utilities that have worked to minimize the impact of the state’s renewable energy law on their operations… Investor-owned utilities must generate 15 percent of their power from renewables by 2021 under the RES, but the law bars rates from rising more than 1 percent due to compliance with the law.  The utilities said last year the solar rebates would push their renewable plans past that cap. In November, the PSC approved agreements between them, ratepayer groups and other solar industry players placing caps on the rebates…”

 

 

House 130

In the large contributions this morning, Loren Hunt received his $25K lug from the Missouri Club for Growth.  He’s one of their four endorsed candidates – primarying incumbent Republicans who voted against the tax cut override last summer.  He ran in 2012 and lost to Rep. Jeff Messenger in a three-way.  Then-incumbent Rep. Thomas Long was close second, and Hunt was a distant third, taking 16%.

 

Hunt just started his campaign committee Monday – perhaps so he could receive the check. But his website is up and active.  See it here.  He calls himself a “constitutional conservative.”  Under issues, he highlights only two priorities: abortion and gay marriage…

 

 

Fundraising Calendar

Today’s fundraising events powered by Mary Scruggs’ indispensable events calendar:

Rep. John Mayfield Reception –6 W 53rd Terrace, Kansas City – 5-7 p.m.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee – Bar Napoli, 7754 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis – 5:30-7 p.m.

Sen. Scott Sifton Reception – Cupples 9, St. Louis – 5:30-7 p.m.

 

 

$5K+ Contributions

Missourians for Children’s Education - $12,307 from Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Hunt for MO Rep - $25,000 from The Club for Growth Missouri.

Missourians for Safe Transportation & New Jobs Inc - $20,000 from Leavenworth Excavating & Equipment Co Inc.

Citizens for Mason - $25,000 from Hurlbert CPA LLC.

Committee to Elect Lauren Hopkins - $6,000 from Helen Hoffmann.

Missouri Health Care Association PAC - $61,500 from Missouri Health Care Association.

 

 

Happy Birthday

Happy birthdays to The Mighty Jason Rosenbaum (30), Lynne Flowers, St. Louis City Alderwoman Chryssi Ingrassia, and St. Louis City Alderman Joe Vaccaro (59).