Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Budget Breakthrough

Last night the Senate passed their budget bills.  Next up will be conference committee.  House Budget Chair Ryan Silvey has been sour on some aspects of the Senate’s budget over Twitter.  Most interesting will be to see who gets appointed to the conference committee on the Senate side.



Budget Bits

There are a thousand fewer state full-time employees in the fiscal year going forward than were budgeted for the current fiscal year.  Any state position that’s been vacant for more than three months was eliminated.



Several close votes various controversial provisions.  The funding for the blind was restored by 18-16.  Republicans joining Democrats on that vote were: Sens. Crowell, Cunningham, Dixon, Kraus, Lembke, Pearce, Purgason, Ridgeway, Rupp, Schaaf and Stouffer.



And an attempt to remove 2% pay raised to state employees making less than $45K  failed by a vote of 15-17.  Republicans joining Democrats were: Sens. Brown, Dixon, Engler, Goodman, Kehoe, Pearce, Richard, Rupp, Schaefer and Wasson.  Absent from the vote were Sens. Chapelle-Nadal and Munzlinger.



Although the first budget bill, 2001 (public debt) was unanimous, none of the others were.  Sens. Crowell and Schaaf voted No on all the others.  And Sen. Lembke joined them except on 2002 (education).  Sen. Purgason also was a frequent No vote, joining them on nine of the budget bills.



Most of the “list of 12 demands” appeared to be met through substitutes offered by Sen. Schaefer. For example, Sen. Jane Cunningham’s priority about preventing a “quality rating system” was integrated into budget so that any pursuit of that would jeopardize the entire funding of the sponsoring organization.  The same language was inserted to prevent funding from reaching the Sue Shear Institute.



Several observers saw the budget process as one last chance for Sen. Crowell to beat up on Appropriations Chair Schaefer.  It was four years ago that Schaefer disparaged Crowell’s motivations on the senate floor, and the two never reconciled.



The Big Picture

For all the huff and puff of the budget hawks, they were mostly playing penny poker during the last 48 hours.  When you consider that they had a chance at tax credit reform during special session with a fiscal note showing over a billion dollars in savings to the budget (and they whiffed), last night didn’t dent the state’s structural deficits. (Word is that Purgy still hopes to trade for tax credit reform, by the way.)


In this view, the demands list (picnic tables, cutting Stacy Hastie’s development subsidy, fire Kathy Thornburg, no money for Mizzou to create a REMI model) looks lot less hawkish, and kind of petty, if not childish.




After the long night, the Senate won’t start today until 11:30am.  Majority Caucus Talker Ryan Nonnemaker says that they will work on HB 1174, school accreditation.



New Republican Senate Primaries Report

As a wrote a few days ago, an updated edition of the Republican Senate Primaries Report now contains a backward look at previous primary voting totals in an attempt to ascertain the landscape of the districts.  You can find the new version Here.  It gets a little hairy now with lots of numbers, but hopefully the lay-out is clean enough that it’s comprehensible.  Feel free to download or print out the report for future reference.




The St. Louis Beacon, St. Louis Public Radio and KETC are creating the Center for Public Media which will cover the 2012 election cycle.  And they’re looking for a managing editor.  See the Ad Here.



With only six senate bills on the calendar right now for third reading in the Senate, “third-read Thursday” will likely include a fair number of House bills tomorrow.



Yesterday I listed another $50K from the Humphreys family to former state representative Ed Emery in his Senate 31 contest.  That brings their total investment to $100K so far, though Emery has shown little other support.  Meanwhile Team Largent says that they’ve put together their own group of heavies to counter-balance the weight of Humphreys’ checks.  Their message: Largent won’t be out-gunned.



Over on MOWonk, Brian Schmidt gives a history of the Es (estimates) in the  budget.  Read it Here.



Tweet of the Day

“Senate doesn’t have caucuses, they have clusters.” - @SarahWMartin



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


James Farrell added St. Louis-Jefferson Solid Waste Management District.



Lobbyists’ Registration Exegesis

The Giddens Group registered to lobby for the Friends of the Kansas City Zoo a few days ago.  This appears to be related to an amendment placed on the omnibus local governments bill which would restrict the bonding capacity of the new Zoo District which voters just created.



Penman & Winton Consulting registered to lobby for the Glazer’s Family of Companies.  This appears to be another registration surrounding the bill affecting wholesalers’ franchises.



$5K+ Contributions

Spence for Governor - $25,000 from Daniel Creston.

Spence for Governor - $5,000 from Forest Hills Properties.




Happy birthday to Ed Finkelstein and Courtney Lauer (22).