Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Trade In These Wings

Republican senators caucused last night, starting at about 7:30 p.m. after the REMI presentation. My Blackberry didn’t start blinking until after 11; that’s one long meeting.


Here’s what I heard.  There was a lot of discussion about the Aerotropolis portion of the economic development bill, with concern focusing on the warehouse tax credit portion of the bill.


The warehouse tax credit had been one of the targets of opponents of the Aerotropolis proposal.  Some cited the excess warehouse supply which already exists; others that if converting those buildings into usable space were a smart investment the market would be doing it; and of course there was no small amount of envy aimed at Paul McKee who had accumulated land around the airport and was thought to benefit from the credit.


The caucus took a secret ballot vote on the Aerotropolis bill.  Would you vote for it?  Would you vote for it with some changes?  Would you vote against?  The results were said to be 3-11-11.  Three yes, as is.  Eleven yes, with changes.  Eleven no. 


Assuming the changes were workable that left the caucus with a 14-11 divide. My own spreadsheet had 9 Nos, so there are two undercover Nos in the secret ballot.  One non-senate observer marveled at the absurdity of secret ballot on a policy issue, “How do you know who to go talk to?!”


With the caucus split, they decided to yank the warehouse tax credits from Aerotropolis and keeping the freight forwarding tax credit.  By the numbers, that’s $300 million gone from the ecodevo bill, but $60 million still in.


Also in the discussion was the circuit-breaker “reform.”  But no decision was reached on that.



Thoughts Looking Backward

The REMI presentation has a negative effect.  I spoke to one senator who was far more concerned about the cost-benefit after the presentation than before.  In theory it was supposed to go the other way.



Opposition was very well organized.  I had two counter-analysis of the REMI conclusions in my in-box before the REMI meeting was even over.



Who’s got blood on their hands?  Survey says: Sen. Brad Lager (duplicity), Pro Tem Rob Mayer (incompetence), Governor Jay Nixon (chronic poisoning).



Thoughts Going Forward

While an obvious set-back for the business community, and for the China Hub concept, the bill moves forward…



The circuit-breaker will have to be addressed on the Floor or the bill loses its Democratic supporters.  One wonders if labor stays on board without the warehouse piece, but if there’s no warehouse piece and a harmful circuit-breaker change, I bet they jump off and the ecodevo bill sinks.



The House is sitting on its heels shaking its head at the Senate which continues to mystify it.  In the past they were watching developments mulling whether they could live with this change or that change.  Now they’ve thrown their hands up trying to imagine what bill will finally escape the upper chamber.



Meet the New Sheriff?

Did the attack on Aerotropolis signify a power-shift within the GOP heavies circle?  That’s one view:


“This whole thing was a coordinated effort to show that Rex Sinquefield is the new powerbroker. He can control the legislature by those in his pocket and the Show Me Institute can mobilize the grass roots. And they showed that Paul McKee doesn’t carry the stick he did a few years ago.  They got the warehouses eliminated by harping on the Land Assemblage Tax Credit, the same credit where McKee got it passed for himself without ever have a hearing on bill in House or Senate.  This was all about doing the opposite of land assemblage and showing there is a new sheriff in town.”



Starting Now

At 8:30 a.m. that is, the Senate Local Government Committee hears the “local control” bill which would return control of the police department to the City of St. Louis.  Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal will presumably skip her Ways and Means Committee to be present at the local control hearing.  It has been a passion of hers.  But this morning is a re-run so it should lack some of the suspense and gore of the original during session.



With the St. Louis Police Officers Association leadership vote ending on Thursday, could a change in leadership affect local control if it’s not passed by then? 



Senate 13

The Gina Walsh campaign for Senate (Sen. Tim Green’s seat) chugs along. Walsh received a $5K+ contribution (see below), and has an upcoming “grassroots” fundy scheduled for Oct. 29.  Her first trivia night back in February drew nearly 400 people and raised over $20K.



House 160

Neal Boyd, from the television show “America’s Got Talent” fame is announcing for state rep in the 160 (currently held by term limited Rep. Ellen Brandom).  Read it Here.


Boyd says he’s running as a Republican setting up a primary with the other announced candidate Holly Rehder.  Boyd should have some good name ID but there’s a question whether that will help.  Says one observer, “Most of the people down there still take a D ballot in the primary. Best operation will win. Advantage, Rehder.”




Post-Dispatch hits low-income housing tax credit.  Read it Here.



Missouri unemployment up to 8.8%.



Senate passes Sen. Jane Cunningham’s Facebook fix.  Read it Here.



Lobbyist Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Jeffery N Brooks added City of Joplin.

Mark Bruns, Gary Burton, Jim Foley, and Chris Liese added H&R Block Management LLC.

James Harris added Barklage Company Inc.



$5K+ Contributions

One Zoo for All - $10,000 from DST Systems Inc.

Friends of Gina Walsh - $5,100 from International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers.