Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Age of Big Bonding Coming?

Republican legislative leaders are making plans to push for a new big bonding program.  The size is unknown, but it is said to be targeting higher education capital expenditures as well as transportation expenditures.  A reasonable guess of $700 million for higher ed, and something commensurate for highways would make it a massive (perhaps multi-billion dollar) bonding effort.

 

This type of program would appear to be the fulfillment of Pro Tem Tom Dempsey’s plans for infrastructure investment which he has included in the Senate’s “B-I-G” agenda.  Read more on that here.

 

Speaker Tim Jones has said that he would consider a bond issue, but appears wary of the details.  Read more here.

 

It’s thought that Republicans would point to the “blue ribbon commission” appointed by former speaker Steve Tilley which looked at transportation funding.  That committee was headed by former speaker Rod Jetton.  Tilley now lobbies for Fred Weber, a fact that will not be lost on cynics of the term-limit revolving door.

 

In addition to Republican leadership, Rep. Chris Kelly is reportedly pushing hard for the plan.  He has long been an advocate for high education funding.  And thus one would expect Appropriations Chair, Sen. Kurt Schaefer, another legislator with the University of Missouri as a constituent, to support the plan.

 

The bond issue proposal would be passed by the legislature and go straight to the voters for approval, thus by-passing the governor.

 

The Case Against

While the details are still unknown, it appears that the plan is bond general revenue which one critic says “amounts to deficit spending.”

 

It would be ironic if the Republican legislature which chest-thumps itself on fiscal responsibly would tie up future general revenue through bonding.  All the talk of making hard choices between competing priorities would be tanked by borrowing from future tax-payers.  One wonders how asking voters to issue debt is more fiscally responsible than asking voters if they’d pay higher taxes for a specific purpose?

 

The other worry is that we’ve seen this movie before.  The bonding feels great while the program is in place – that is right up until it ends.  Then you fall off the cliff.

 

 

More on Senate Committees

Best thinking now....

 

Sen. Jay Wasson taking reins of a financials committee with Sen. John Lamping getting a committee with pensions as part of its portfolio.

 

This line of thinking has Sen. Mike Parson landing at General Laws with a Fiscal Oversight component.

 

It’s unclear if Pro Tem Tom Dempsey is still shuffling tiles on his committee board, or if he’s pretty well locked in.

 

 

Controversy in House 150

From the Dunklin Daily News (read it here):  “Dunklin County Prosecuting Attorney Stephen P. Sokoloff, acting on behalf of County Clerk Carol Hinesly, filed a petition Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012, in the County Circuit Court seeking a new election in the 150th District of the Missouri House of Representatives….

 

“According to a written statement by the prosecutor, from a preliminary canvass performed by Hinesly, it appears that a number of voters who live in the 152nd District were given ballots to vote in the 150th District and a number of voters in the 150th District were given ballots for the 152th District….

 

“According to the uncertified preliminary election results, Hampton narrowly defeated Todd 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent. Hinesly said this race will remain uncertified until a decision is made on how to proceed. No official dates have been set.”

 

 

Jones: MO Not Gonna Follow Kansas

In an interview with Micheal Mahoney, Speaker Tim Jones cast doubt on the wisdom of Kansas’ tax cuts.  Likewise former House Budget Chair Sen-elect Ryan Silvey also warned about the fiscal impact.  Read it here.  The statements come just as major Republican benefactor Rex Sinquefield unveiled a new public awareness campaign about the Kansas tax cuts, asking what Missouri’s response will be.

 

Pull Quotes: “They’re (the state of Kansas) going to have a pretty significant, some would say, a massive deficit,” Jones observed.

 

 

“The general sense I get from the legislators I talked to is what Kansas has done is probably not sustainable in the long run,” Silvey said.  The question”, Silvey added, “is how long does it take before collapse, and what happens to business on this side of the state line in the meantime?”

 

 

Bits

New York Times writes about the coming deadline to set up state health exchanges.  Read it here.

 

 

MO Budget Project highlights a new report that shows growing inequality in Missouri.  See it here.

 

 

Group organizes for Question 1 on the KC ballot in the spring.  See it here.  According to one politico “this is the ‘no nukes’ ballot question surrounding the NNSA Honeywell facility.”

 

 

MOScout News

Next week is a short week.  Updates on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with the “Weekly Summary” coming out Wednesday afternoon.  No Update on Thanksgiving or the following day (Friday).

 

Then the next week, a full schedule will resume and there will be a return of some new kind of version of “Who Won the Week.”

 

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Rea Kleeman (78).

 

 

Sunday: Rep. Mary Nichols, Rep-elect Randy Dunn.