Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sauer’s Open Letter to Blunt an Schlemeier

In today’s chapter of the Sauer Chronicles, the Missouri Roundtable for Life leader pens an open letter to lobbyists Andy Blunt and Jorgen Schlemeier

Dear Andy and Jorgen:

 

Rumor has it that you are working the halls of the Missouri legislature to undermine efforts to protect Missouri taxpayer dollars from going to abortion, human cloning, and embryo experimentation.

 

Why are you doing this? Are you being paid? If so, how much and by whom?..

 

This is outrageous.

 

By copy of this letter to the entire general assembly, we are calling on them to immediately initiate and pass legislation that requires full public disclosure of every dollar paid to lobbyists by their clients.

 

Just as candidates for public office must disclose their campaign contributions, so too lobbyists should have to publicly disclose who pays them and how much they are being paid.

 

At least then we will know how much special interest groups are paying to raid the Missouri treasury.

 

Yours truly,

Fred N. Sauer

And

Word circulating last night was that Blunt picked up the phone and called the contact listed on the press release to try to open a dialogue with Sauer.  Alas, he only got voicemail…

Lynn Tweaks Dixon

Patrick Lynn, the legislative liaison for Department of Social Services whose salary was targeted by Sen. Bob Dixon in Monday’s appropriation process, tweeted this:  “One of my favorite Mo. AG opinions. Always appropriate this time of year. http://ago.mo.gov/opinions/1974/212-74.htm … #FTE” 

It’s a link to a 1974 Attorney General opinion from then-AG John Danforth to then-Gov Kit Bond which describes the practice as unconstitutional.  See it here.

Dixon, by the way, is Chair of the Judiciary Committee.

To Lager From Grover

In a letter dated earlier this month, Grover Norquist takes opposition to the liquor franchise bills, invoking what might be this session’s catch-phrase: “picking winners and losers.”

Dear Chairman Lager,

 

On behalf of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) and our members across Missouri, I write today in strong opposition of HB 759 and SB 365, protectionist legislation that would further enhance wholesaler’s monopoly and adversely impact consumers...  Experience shows us that when government picks winners and losers in the market, prices go up for consumers as there is no longer any incentive for politically favored groups to innovate and perform in the marketplace – their position is guaranteed….

And

Opponents have also been circulating an ALEC article with a similar message (“One of the most basic rights of every American is the freedom to choose a business partner…”).  But word from within the House Republican caucus last week when both sides pitched their case was that Major Brands’ Sue McCollum hit a home-run. 

So far neither the House nor the Senate bill have had floor time, so it’s hard to gauge where the legislature is on the issue.

The State of the Three Es

With a little over three weeks left there’s plenty of time (one active observer yesterday called it “halftime”).  However only one of the speaker’s “three E” agenda looks to have momentum at this point.  That’s economic development.

Today the House will take up Sen. Will Kraus’ SB26 which includes phased-in corporate and individual tax cut, and a phased-in sales tax increase.  One wonders if the Senate package will seem too tame to the House, particularly the provision that lets the cuts happen only if the state’s general revenue rises by $100 million year-over-year.

Meanwhile in the Senate, Rep. Anne Zerr’s HB698 (global tax credit bill) gets a committee hearing today.  EcoDevo Chair Eric Schmitt is wasting no time moving the bill along its path.

However the other two Es appear stuck.  Energy – which, it’s said, was originally articulated with the Westinghouse SMR project in mind and then morphed into ISRS – hasn’t moved from either chamber yet.  And the education agenda is retrenching after its teacher evaluation loss on the House floor a few weeks ago.

The Fourth E

Over the summer, there was a lot of wailing about the misuse of non-profits to hide donors, but there’s been no action on it this session.  Yesterday members of the Ethics Commission were sighted walking the halls, perhaps trying to inject a little urgency into the issue?

Too Many PQs?

House floor seatmates TJ McKenna and Jeremy LaFaver have been counting the number of PQs that have taken place in the House this year.  As of Monday they were at 112, and guessing this session may hit 200.  Comparing that to when the Democrats held the chamber’s control at the turn of the century… 24 in 2000, 26 in 2001 and 9 in 2002.

Meanwhile

On the Senate side there hasn’t been the hint of a PQ in recent weeks…

McKenna Off Issue Development Committees

Rep. T.J. McKenna was the latest to drop his membership in “issue development” committee, being removed from the Missouri Sportsman, and the Bipartisan Freshman committees.

Monsanto Expansion

The bioscience behemoth Monsanto announced a $400 million expansion in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield.  The St. Louis Business Journal also reported that the company would be pulling down $53 million in “incentives,” for the investment, which is projected to create more than 650 jobs.  See it here.

I tried to find someone who was outraged by the high-level of subsidies, but to no avail.  Everyone I spoke to was happy to have the giant pouring more resources into the state, and thinks the state and local tax dollars to make the deal happen were worth it.

Claire for Elizabeth Colbert Busch

Senator Claire McCaskill sent a fundraising appeal to her email list yesterday, entitled “Take a Hike Sanford.”

Remember Mark Sanford?

 

He was all over the news a few years back after secretly abandoning his post as governor of South Carolina and using tax dollars to visit his mistress in Argentina. All the while, his staff used the excuse that the governor's absence was just due to him "hiking the Appalachian trail."

 

Well, Sanford's back, hoping to stage his political comeback in the special election for South Carolina's 1st Congressional District on May 7…

Finally

A review of the ne Blackberry Q10, due out “late May!”  See it here.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

 

James C. Bowers, Jr. added Missouri Rural Water Association, James K. Owens, and Tremont Square TDD.

Kevin Houlihan added Collaborative for a Low Cost Digital Future, and Pollard Banknote Limited.

Aaron G. March added Great Midwest Properties LLC.

Michael T. White added Cosma International.

Mandy Hagan added Walgreen Co.

Jessica Hodge added Health Management Associates, Pollard Banknote Limited, Bluebird Network LLC, and Fresh Ideas.

 

 

$5K+ Contributions

Friends of Tom Schweich - $10,000 from James McDonnell III.

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Sen. Brian Munzlinger (57).