Friday, April 26, 2013

Jones Doubles Down on Education Reform

Fiscal Review

After Sen. Jamilah Nasheed’s SB 125 was squashed in Fiscal Review yesterday, Speaker Tim Jones moved to consolidation his power over that committee.  Jones called two dissenting Republicans – Reps. Denny Hoskins and Jeff Messenger – separately into his office to “discuss” the issue.

It’s said that neither had a problem with the fiscal note, but rather opposed the policy of the bill.  Jones informed them that they were free to vote No on the floor on the policy, but expected they would confine their judgment in Fiscal Review to the fiscal note.  They demurred on his suggestion.  And Jones then removed them form the committee.  In their place, he appointed two freshmen representatives with some business background – Reps. Sonya Anderson and Kathy Swan.

Hoskins Tweet

Denny Hoskins  ‏@DLHoskins: “Sometimes the right decision is not always the easy decision.”

Reconsider?

As the KC Star reports (here), the bill is dead unless they can convince one of the No votes to make a motion for reconsideration.  Rep. Brandon Ellington is the target for this task, but it’s unclear whether he’s been convinced.  Could be a long weekend for Ellington….

Cobbling a New Coalition

Getting the bill out of committee is only the first hurdle though.  It has to avoid the slaughter that befell the last education reform bill on the House floor.  Toward that end, Speaker Jones and Rep. Jay Barnes are said to be looking for ways to cobble together a winning coalition.  This is include enticing some of the Kansas City delegation with the take-over provision, but will likely also require some serious compromises.

Education

While Jones was bulldozing he also did some reshaping of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee.  He removed Reps. Mike Thomson and Elaine Gannon.  Those two – along with Rep. Lyle Rowland – have been consistent detractors of the reform agenda being advanced by Jones.  In their place, Jones appointed newly sworn-in Rep. Mike Moon.  This will presumably make life a little easier for Chair Steve Cookson.

RINOs Among Us?

Gannon in particular has been unreliable for the Republican majority.  In addition to being a education reform opponent, she voted against the Kraus tax cut bill, and is not with Republicans on their labor agenda.   She typifies the expanded Republican political majority which isn’t translating into an expanded policy majority on some issues.

And the Round-About

Secretary of State Jason Kander approved a petition initiative for circulation that would amend the constitution (see it here) concerning teacher evaluation.

Nixon: Don’t Cut Emergency Response Funding

On the heels of the Boston bombing, Governor Jay Nixon went before the Emergency Management Conference yesterday to denounce the cuts in the Senate budget which would hit public safety and homeland security.

“On countless occasions, here in Missouri and across the nation, we have seen the importance of local communities being able to effectively and rapidly respond to natural and man-made disasters,” Gov. Nixon said. “Cutting by fifty percent the federal funds that help our communities respond to these challenges, as the Senate's Fiscal Year 2014 budget would do, is simply wrong. I urge the General Assembly to take the House position to support public safety and ensure our emergency responders have the resources they need to keep our communities safe.”

Silvey Wins on KC Hospital

Sen. Ryan Silvey appears close to winning a victory in his effort to stop the sale of the North Kansas City Hospital.  See the KC Star article here.

Hallway snark: “NKC hired 7 lobbyists and they couldn't get a single "No" vote on an amendment… Furthermore, it went from not even getting a committee vote on Tues afternoon, and now to the Gov’s desk on Thurs. The definition of incompetence…”

Shake Up At Hancock’s Firm

Last month the Beacon wrote an article about GOP spokesperson Jon Prouty going to work for John Hancock’s new firm.  See the website here.

Earlier this week, the firm fired three “high-level employees” for “inappropriate behavior.”  See the article here.

eMailbag: MON vs AUE II

“Thought you’d appreciate a breakdown of the incentives Monsanto is receiving…

“Missouri Quality Jobs Act - 675 jobs over 3 years w/ average salary of $85,000 per year and benefits of $35,700. Monsanto retains 3.5% of the new salaries for 5 years and receives a 3.5% tax credit for 5 years on the new salaries. Total $21.9 million over 8 years. The incentives come after the jobs are created, if the jobs don't come, neither do the incentives.

“Missouri BUILD Program - $9.5 million bond over 10 years which equals $12.5 million when interest is included. This is the only part of the state award that is discretionary. It includes in its calculation the projected 1110 construction jobs at $57-60/hour and the 675 full-time employees. It does not include the projected 225 contract employees that will also be on the site. There is a 3 year period after the bonds are issued to create the 675 jobs, if we fail to do that the state gets all of its money back.

“County Chapter 100 incentives - $11.6 million sales tax exemption on construction materials and projected $10.6 million for a 10 year 50% abatement of property taxes. Obviously, without this project, there would be no sales tax to collect nor would there be new property taxes to abate… Incentives are tied to job creation and capital expenditure…

“Over the 10 year state incentive period, Monsanto will make new investments of $417 million at the site plus $883 million in new salaries and benefits. That's $1.3 billion in direct investment. That figure does not include the anticipated additional 225 contract workers (mostly IT) nor any multiplier effect.

“Also, for the writer who compared the project to Ameren. I will note that this project did not require legislation. It will also dramatically increase the amount of electricity used on the site from about $5.5 million / year to approximately $10 million. Monsanto will pay for the substation upgrades on our campus that will be owned by Ameren. Monsanto was offered reliability above the baseline for an additional $1 million / year or about 10%...  Despite claims from some that ISRS would help attract new businesses that need reliability above the baseline (think data centers), the reality is any business that needs increased reliability is required to pay for it.

“Finally, as the PSC noted, single issue ratemaking, such as ISRS and FAC allow the utilities to charge consumers for expenses without taking into account increased revenue from things like Monsanto increasing its electric usage by $3.5M/year.

“As for AUE seeking tax credits… I am quite certain that if the Westinghouse deal ever happens, they will seek and receive significant tax incentives.”

$5K+ Contributions

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $15,000 from Citizens for Timothy Jones.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Jennifer Bauer.

Saturday: Sen. Ryan McKenna (the big 4-0).

Sunday: Ameren’s Tina Shannon, and former Rep. Brian Yates (38).