Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Aerotropolis and Related Matters

Most of the suspense this last week swirls around the massive economic development package.  The heart of the disagreement between the Senate version, and what will likely be put forward as a House version is whether historic preservation and low-income housing tax credit programs have sunsets, and where the caps are set.


The House version will, like the Senate version, have a large positive fiscal note.  The rough math is this: whatever the cost of Aerotropolis and other new efforts (data centers, sporting events etc), they’ll try to find double the savings to offset it.


That should appease the fiscal conservatives, though they may also demand sunsets.  That’s the core of the compromise negotiations.


There’s a lot of heavy business types who want this bill to happen, so you’d have to think they settle their difference.  However getting there from here in the next three days is like navigating an obstacle course of pit-vipers and land-mines.  Speed matters, but so does attention to detail and avoiding creating new problems...   



Money Man?

As if there weren’t enough hurdles for the massive bill, now comes the rumor that David Barklage is being paid something fat for his efforts to help pass the bill.  Barklage is a talented campaign strategist who’s presumably being paid for strategy here as well (he doesn’t list any Aerotropolisesque clients (like St. Louis City or RCGA) on his lobbyist registration, so he’s not lobbying).  But having worked against a few senators in primaries, he’s joined the club where his association with legislation brings more enemies than friends out of chairs and motivated to stand…


Local Control in the Crossfire

One Senate side source says that local control is getting caught up in the EcoDevo maelstrom.  He sees the Senate holding off on final approval as leverage to push the House to compromise on economic development in their favor. 


And a Word on Historics

For the historic preservation credit, whether the cap is $85 million or $75 million or $65 million is basically irrelevant since no one sees a return to the boom-time redevelopment that St. Louis City’s downtown experienced several years ago.  Some civic-types still cling to them almost as a matter of public policy nostalgia.  Yet there are a limited number of downtown projects which didn’t get done during the boom-time that are arguably of critical importance to St. Louis’ downtown.   Rather a greater emphasis should be put on retaining the tax credits at a more modest level for residents throughout the city to use to maintain the historic fabric of the neighborhoods. 



Kinder Calls for CWIP-lite

Here are excerpts from Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder’s statement yesterday:


“Missourians are at a critical crossroads for securing our energy future.  Senator Mike Kehoe and Representative Jeanie Riddle have championed important legislation which would lay the ground work for another nuclear plant in our state…  The recent instability in the Middle East and turmoil in the oil market highlights the need for additional sources of clean, inexpensive energy produced right here in Missouri… Today I wrote a letter to Speaker Tilley and President Pro Tem Mayer urging them to consult with the appropriate parties and pass a legislative compromise… Since his first press conference, the Governor has been absent in providing

leadership on this critical fight for jobs. I call on the Governor to join the debate and work with me and legislative leaders to forge a compromise on this matter with all parties… Missourians understand that without keeping all options on the table regarding our energy policy, that four dollar a gallon gasoline will be the least of our worries.  The time for action is now!”


In the Room

Negotiating out the CWIP-lite details are Bryan Cave’s Diana Vuylsteke representing the industrials, and Warren Wood of Ameren on the other side.  The rumor is that they’re close.  But of course the two sides have been close for months…



Incumbent Non-Protection Program

Jeff Mazur, who sits on the Senate reapportionment commission, tweeted a website yesterday – www.moredistricting.com – which has the first stab maps up of state House and Senate lines. More on this later, especially after session, but at a first glance the Senate map should be horrifying to lots of people – especially incumbents in the City of St. Louis.


The City of St. Louis senate lines are now drawn to cut the city into a northern district and a southern district.  When Republicans created the last map, they divided the city into eastern and western halves.  The thinking is that by creating two districts which ran the length of the city, they would be fostering racial discord with each election cycle – north-side candidates vying against south-side ones.  And in fact there have been tensions, though I would argue that after a decade of it, the city is better off because of the necessary dealing with one another.


Now Democrats are reconfiguring it to have a northern district and a southern district, though because of population shifts – many blacks have moved to the south-side and emptied out the north-side – the district line sits on the near south-side.  With Sen. Joe Keaveny taking the northern district and Sen. Robin Wright-Jones taking the southern one, it actually looks like both will have trouble retaining their seats when they face re-election.



Check the Data

Roll Call has an article today about the choices facing Russ CarnahanRead it Here.  In the article they cite demographic data provided by a Democratic source which sounds like the data Rep. Lacy Clay mentioned to the Post-Dispatch in yesterday’s article.  It’s said that the primary voter make-up will be over 60% minority.  Our view is that any such analysis is flawed, probably relying on November 2008 turn-out to forecast August 2012 turn-out.  Obviously black turn-out will be much lower in the primary than a general, and in an election without Barack Obama at the top of the ticket.  As a result the minority voters will constitute approximately 50% of the turn-out.



On Turner Fix

Writes on reader: “Everyone keeps calling it the Turner fix, as if the legislature has to fix what the courts have done.  But in reality, all the Court did was literally read what the legislature wrote into law in the 90s.”



There’s a Jason Grill in Every Legislature

Even Congress… See it Here.



Lobbyist Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


James C. Bowers, Jr. added Haines & Associates Construction Co. Inc., and Nicholson/Hunter/Thomas.


Patricia Jensen added Jasper Stone State Line Station, LLC; and deleted Kemp Estates LCC, Hawkeye Development, McBride & Son Homes, Michelin North America Inc,  First Industrial Realty Trust Inc, Carlton Plaza Homeowners Association, JCRE LLC, Adam Jones, Belgian Bottoms Business Park LLC, Ariane Kemper, Car Wash 103 Inc, and Developers Roundtable.


James Farrell deleted Missouri Coalition for Preservation and Economic Development.