Wednesday April 4, 2012


Gang of Three?

Sens. Rob Schaaf, Jim Lembke and Will Kraus were seen huddling “for hours” yesterday in the back of the Senate chamber with staffers.  The fruits of their exhaustive meetings should be evident in a few minutes when the Senate Appropriation Committee meets (8am).


Their goal, it’s said, is to achieve a “true” balanced budget with no gimmicks, that is a budget that doesn’t reply on one-time fixes, band-aids or lederdemain.


This raises a few interesting implications.


First, the complaint is not new or isolated to these three senators.  Sen. Jason Crowell has been pounding the table that the state is running a structural deficit and shouldn’t limp through another year without addressing the longer-term gap.


Second, Schaaf, Lembke and Krauss represent three of the seven Republicans on the Appropriations Committee.  The other Republicans would constituent a plurality, but not a majority.  The two Democrats (Sens. Kiki Curls and Tim Green) then would become swing voters if a true stand-off over handling the budget emerges.


Third, it’s hard to imagine how championing an austerity budget helps Lembke in his re-election in a lead Dem district.


Senate Appropriations Committee

8am, SCR2.  See notes on the House Budget Bills Here.




Election Results

Bob Burns, Dem candidate in House 93, lost his St. Louis Community College Trustee election.  The right-wing 24th State posts about it Here.



Former Jeff City denizen Trent Summers won a Cape Girardeau council seat.  Read Southeast Missourian’s article Here.



Former Rep. Ted Hoskins beat Babatunde Deinbo by 99 votes to become the Berkley mayor.



St. Louis County approved a million-dollar bond issue to construct and renovate justice buildings. It passed with 59%.



Workers Comp Vote

The House perfected its new workers’ compensation compromise – one that they hope will be acceptable to Governor Jay Nixon.  But eyebrows were raised at the meager vote count – a mere 81 votes.  However there were 15 absences, votes that will be there when the bill comes to a final vote.



Teacher Tenure

Sen. David Pearce killed Sen. Jane Cunningham’s bill to end teacher tenure with an amendment to study the idea.  Voting against Cunningham (and with seven of the eight Dems) were Republican Sens. Dan Brown, Bob Dixon, Kevin Engler, Will Kraus, Brian Munzlinger, Mike Parson, Ron Richard, Kurt Schaefer, and Jay Wasson.


It was a nice turn for Pearce who has been bedeviled by Cunningham in his own Education Committee.  But Camp Cunningham vowed to revisit the issue in the next six weeks before session ends.



Circuit Breaker

The Senate took up Sen. Jason Crowell’s bill to end the tax credit for renters.  It’s a big-ticket item – $50+ million – that at one time had been part of the giant Aerotropolis bill in a previous session.


The Senate did not appear to have any appetite to deal with the provision in isolation of other cuts or economic development proposals.  It appears we’re at an ‘all or nothing’ situation with prospects for all being very very slim.



State Revenues

State revenues collection for the past month were modest, up 3% over the same month a year earlier.  The fiscal year to date number similarly is up 2.5% over this point a year ago.  Individual income tax collections, an important barometer of overall activity, only increased .05% for the month.



Crancer to Steelman?

One rumor has Jane Cunningham staffer Kit Crancer being pursued by the Sarah Steelman campaign for a “high-level” position.




Tea Party blog Reboot Congress says that the Molina-Centene fight is all about crony capitalism.  See it Here.


New House bill would make superintendent  an elected position.  Read it Here.


Rep. Zach Wyatt announces he won’t run for reelection.  Rather he will enroll at University of Hawaii to pursue childhood dream of studying marine biology.  Read it Here.



KC Star reports that Dave Spence paid taxes late.   Hardly a disqualifier for public office, but Dems are building a case for voters to be skeptical about Spence against the known commodity incumbent.  Read it Here.


My thanks, of course, to the peerless John Combest.



Lobbyists’ Principals Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Rodney Boyd, Brain Grace, and Kelvin Simmons added Wallace Bajjali Development Partners L.P.

Kelvin Simmons added Zimmer Real Estate Services L.C.

Mark J Bruns, Gary Burton, Neal English, Andrew Foley, James Foley, Dawn Heidbreder, Chris Liese, and Donald Soph added The Swaine Group on behalf of the City of Holts Summit.

Lara Dickey deleted Curators of the University of Missouri.

Lori Elrod and Martin Walter deleted Carpenters District Council of Greater Saint Louis & Vicinity.

Neal English deleted Missouri Council of School Administrators.

Crystal J Williams deleted Missouri Primary Care Association, Partnership for Children and Policy Matters.



$5K+ Contributions

United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655 Elect Political Action Fund - $6,325 from United Food & Commercial Workers Local #655 Elect Political Action Fund.

Missourians for Health and Education - $9,000 from American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network  Inc.

Citizens for Victor Hurlbert - $5,100 from Hurlbert CPA LLC.

MO Democratic State Committee - $5,450 from Missouri House Democratic Campaign Committee.

Citizens for Safe Courts and Kids - $7,500 from Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.

Clint Zweifel for Missouri - $10,000 from United Food Commercial Workers Active Ballot Club General Fund.

Schoeller for Missouri - $25,000 from David Humphreys.

Missourians for Ed Martin - $5,000 from Drury Development Corporation.




Happy birthday to Theresa Garza Ruiz.