Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Rumorville: Neth Won’t Run For Re-elect

There’s a strong rumor circulating that Rep. Myron Neth won’t be running for re-election next year.  He’s only about mid-way through his potential eight years of service.

If true, this is good news for Democrats as open seats usually yield more wins than those defended by incumbents.  However, Neth’s district (House 17) has become more friendly to Republicans since he was first elected.  The court reapportionment gauged it as a 45.9% DPI.  Previously it had been a Dem lean.

No word so far on potential Democratic candidates, or a Republican who could step into Neth’s shoes.

According to the rumor, the reasons behind Neth’s decision are personal.

Better Together

A new non-profit, Better Together, will debut today with the aim of kick-starting the process for normalizing the political relationship between St. Louis City and St. Louis County.  See the Post-Dispatch article hereSee Better Together website here.

The idea that St. Louis City should re-enter St. Louis County is pretty much conventional wisdom among the civvies in the city.  The reasons usually touted are mostly superficial: how we would rank on this list or that list.  It appears that Better Together plans to produce studies with a little heft on issues such as public health, public finance, and economic development.

One problem in the roll-out may be the polarizing figure of Rex SinquefieldVirvus Jones, former City Comptroller and pops to City Treasurer Tishaura Jones, posted on Facebook: “Looks, Talks, Walks like, must be Rex.”

The executive director, Nancy Rice, works for Pelopidas.  The spokesperson Anne Marie Moy is also the talker for Grow Missouri and other Rexy initiatives. 

Sinquefield’s involvement will raise suspicions among the conspiracy theorists that the end-game is something sinister, like destroying public sectors unions.  We’ll see how it plays.

New Petitions Filed

The secretary of state’s office has changed its procedure to promote transparency.  They are now promising to upload petitions filed in their office 24 hours after receiving them.  It’s just a wiggle, but it matters.  Go here it see recent petitions filed.

There are two interesting batches.  One is from agitator Steven Reed of Springfield.  Reed ran as an Independent against Sara Lampe a few years ago.  Reed has three proposals. They are: a sales tax for High Speed Rail service (see it here); sales tax to create “Technology Parks” in southwest Missouri (see it here); adding provisions to recall statewide elected officials (see it here). I assume they will go nowhere. 

The other interesting batch will presumably have more money behind it and therefore should be read more closely.  They are from Grow Missouri’s Aaron Willard

The first would cap all tax credits at $200 million.  And if they exceeded this target, the individual income rate would be reduced.  See it here.   The second would slowly phase out both tax credits and the individual income tax in the state.  See it here.  And the third one would institute an individual income tax rate cut, and authorize the general assembly to enact a sales tax without a vote of the people.  See it here.

The first two take aim at “broad tax reform” where the government isn’t “picking winners and losers.”  This has been a rallying cry among conservatives for many years in Jefferson City.   Though it’s often hard for many of the supporters of this philosophy to stick with it when the rubber hits the road.  The most obvious example in my memory is Jason Crowell arguing for the film tax credit and suddenly talking about multiplier effects.

In this respect the initiative petition process makes sense, you can go the voters at large with a big idea rather than get bottled up in the capitol by every interest group with a tax credit at stake.

The third petition looks like a two-step “fair tax.”  Start the fire of an income tax cut, and leave the sales tax increase open as an exit.

Obviously all depart in various ways from HB 253, so we’ll see whether Grow Missouri can hold their coalition together with its new forays.  

Noranda Cutting Jobs

Over in North Carolina, Noranda is cutting 59 jobs.  Read the article here.   Deeper in the article you get the nugget from a company spokesperson: “The upcoming layoffs were triggered by increased import competition on certain light-gauge foil products…”

What it means for the capitol denizens… Noranda is in a fiercely competitive environment; there’ll be no let-up in their all-out war to constraint their energy costs.  In other words, no end  in sight to their annual battle with Ameren.

Billedo for House 140

Jim Billedo started a campaign committee to run for House in District 140 as a Democrat.  The current incumbent is Rep. Lynn Morris, a Republican.  The district is overwhelmingly Republican.

Billedo is the chair of the Greene County Democratic Central Committee with ties to the Communication Workers of America

Bits

See fee offices open for bid here.

Jeanette Mott Oxford, head of MASW, has started blogging on the website of the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.   See her recent post here.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Daniel R. Pfeifer added Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

$5K+Contributions

Citizen to Elect John Wright - $20,000 from John Wright.

Citizens for Steve Stenger - $5,001 from I.U.O.E Local 513 Political & Educational Fun.

Citizens to Elect Mike Kehoe - $10,000 from Citizen for Brad Lager.

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to lobbyist Fred Dreiling (45) and former Rep. Kenny Jones (63).