Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Senate Stays Late – Early – To Do Tax Credits

All hail Senate Floor Leader Ron Richard.  He brought the Senate in last night to deal with the thorny issue of tax credit reform, and he kept them in until 4 in the morning. It was painful at many points, but the Senate finished a tax credit reform bill.  Credit also goes to the dogged patience of the in-the-trenches bill sponsor Sen. Eric Schmitt.


There were thirteen amendments offered, and to the best of my score-keeping here’s where we ended (though please consult a legitimate summary when it’s available):


Freight forwarding tax credit was opened to any airport in the state, not just St. Louis.

Historic preservation tax credits were capped at $45 million/year.

Low income housing tax credits were capped at $50 million/year.

Angel investors tax credit was added, at $6 million/year and sunseting in 2019.

Wood energy producer tax credit was added, $350,000 a year.


Several senators made the point that this was just a starting point for negotiations with the House.  Indeed one should expect that the House will recoil at such massive cuts to the historic and low income programs.  But the Senate has started the ball rolling…



SB 207 Back and Forth

Public Service Commission Analysis

At the Commerce Committee yesterday Sen. Mike Kehoe released an analysis from the Public Service Commission concerning the costs to consumers if the ISRS was adopted.  Proponents of the legislation made hay over the numbers which showed that cost to consumers “with ISRS or without ISRS will not vary except for timing.”  FERAF, the opposition group, sent a statement soon thereafter blasting PSC Chairman, Kevin Gunn, who is set to exit the commission in a few days.



Post-Dispatch Analysis

The PD editorialized against SB207.  See it here.  Pull Quote: “The record shows Ameren is doing just fine in the current regulatory environment. Five rate hikes in six years is Hall of Fame-level stuff.  Ameren Missouri’s profits are meeting or exceeding expectations. Its executives consistently rake in millions of dollars in bonuses. Its investment in its infrastructure, under the current system is keeping the lights on.  The current system works for everybody. The Legislature should leave it alone.”




And opponents are running TV ads now too.  See it here.




The action moves to the House where their Utilities Committee will take up the House version of ISRS this morning (8am, HR7).



Medicaid Expansion / Transformation Bits

Nixon in Rolla Today

Governor Jay Nixon visits the Missouri S&T Innovation Park in Rolla today to tout the Medicaid expansion plan.



Barnes’ Managed Care Not Your Dad’s Medicaid

Rep. Jay Barnes’ bill attempts to inject price competition for the “first time in the history of the Medicaid program.” Barnes hopes to empower participants “to think like real consumers.”  Toward that end, he proposes that the new plans include cost sharing for out-patient services, provide incentives to health plans and providers to encourage cost effective delivery of care, and reward participants for choosing a low cost plan.



Barky on the Job

Yesterday’s bit on a poll about Medicaid expansion was in fact done by the Missouri Hospital Association according to a memo from consultant David Barklage circulated to the “Coalition for Healthy Economic Growth.”



Christie Says Yes to Medicaid Expansion

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie yesterday was the latest Republican governor to announce that he would accept Obamacare for his state. Read it here.


Pull Quote: “Mr. Christie emphasized that it was a financial decision, not a philosophical shift; if New Jersey did not take the money, he said, the federal government would give it to other states.


“‘Let me be clear: I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act,’ the governor said. ‘I think it is wrong for New Jersey and for America. I fought against it and believe, in the long run, it will not achieve what it promises. However, it is now the law of the land. I will make all my judgments as governor based on what is best for New Jerseyans.’”



Senate Vehicles

One observer says that there will be plenty of legislative vehicles available late in session on the Senate side for some kind of Medicaid compromise – if the stars align.



Yesterday’s Bills

Sen. Joe Keaveny filed the Senate side version of the Distressed Land Assemblage tax credit.  See it here.



Sen. Scott Rupp filed a campaign contribution limits bill.  See it here.  The limits would be: $25,000 for statewide candidates; $10,000 for state senators; $2,500 for state representatives; and $2,500 for any other public office.  Furthermore, the amount of aggregate contributions made by a single contributor to a political party committee in a calendar year could not exceed $50,000.



Andy Arnold to Drebes: Koster Covering His Ass on Master Settlement

“Dave- I know it's complicated, but get the facts straight!


“The Missouri legislature enacted the model escrow statute that requires non-participating manufacturers to escrow money rather than join and pay into the MSA in 1999. That statute is Section 196.1000-1003. Subsequent to that, the legislature also enacted what is referred to as the ‘MSA complementary statute’, sections 196.1020-196.1035, RSMo in 2010 to give the AG the tools he needs to go after manufacturers that don’t pay escrow. Now Koster wants the legislature to pass a statute (SB 97) that severely restricts the non-participating manufacturers ability to compete by fixing their retail price $6 a carton higher than the current market price. Yes we are the only state that hasn't passed this price-fixing measure, and yes I have lobbied effectively against it. Koster’s letter is a CYA because his office is charged with enforcement. If Missouri loses any money it's because Koster didn’t enforce the law, not because the state legislature didn’t pass his price fixing bill. BTW, every other state in the MSA is in arbitration too, and they passed his price fixing bill.”



Kansas Tax Cut Unpopular

According to a recent Public Policy Polling poll, the Kansas income tax cut is unpopular.  See it here.


Q1 Do you approve or disapprove of Governor Sam Brownback’s job performance?

Approve .......................................................... 37%

Disapprove...................................................... 52%

Not sure .......................................................... 11%


Q2 Do you support or oppose Governor Brownback’s plan for phasing out the income tax?

Support ........................................................... 37%

Oppose ........................................................... 48%

Not sure .......................................................... 15%




The House worked on a prevailing wage bill yesterday, and it looks like they have more than enough to pass it, but are quite short of override numbers.



Look for Cloria Brown to make a comeback in House 94.  Assuming the former representative makes another run, it’ll be the fourth match between her and Rep. Vicki Englund.  Englund is 2-1 right now, but Republicans think the off-presidential cycle puts the wind at Brown’s back.



$5K+ Contributions

Citizens for Safe and Accessible Arch and Public Parks Initiative in Collaboration with Civic Progress Action Committee - $150,000 from Civic Progress Action Committee.




Happy birthday to Rep. Mike Lair (67), Doug Crews, and former Rep. Wayne Cooper (64).