Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today / Tonight

The Senate’s “rebooting” work groups will report to the full Senate at 11am today.  It’s a chance to see where potential cost savings have been found, and also it gives those targeted for “streamlining” a heads-up.


State of the State

The real show is the pre-show.  That starts at 5:30pm, when Budget Director Linda Luebbering will run through the governor’s 2012 budget with reporters.  The budget priorities are where the rubber meets the road on governing.  Those starting-point recommendations will be posted on the Office of Administration website when Jay Nixon takes the podium at 7pmPeter Kinder benefits from low expectations.  Anything other than boilerplate Republiclasagna will be a joy.



The Context

The recent alignment of House Democrats with Republicans in criticizing various aspects of Nixon’s administration (excessive withholds, travel costs) changes the dynamic of the speech. 


Certainly Democrats will join in at the right applause lines, but the disenchantment of the liberal Democrats has reached the extreme of infecting Democratic legislators.  In yesterday’s House Democratic caucus there wasn’t a single person who said anything negative or questioned their current tack.


In short, Nixon is a man alone tonight.   And that’s not all bad, right?  Why be leader of an unpopular Party?




“Maybe Mike Talboy should give the rebuttal tonight instead of Peter Kinder…”



What to Look For

Certainly the recent coup of landing a $400 million investment package from Ford will be front-and-center in the governor’s speech.  But here’s the quick scorecard:


Does he use the Ford success to show things are working here, or does he say the need for incentives proves things are broken?  Another way: how far will he go in embracing MO Chamber’s business environment reforms?


Is CWIP-lite a serious priority?


Does he make any stands for his base – on right to work, for example, or a preemptive warning shot at the Fair Tax, or even Prop B?


How will he deal with the budget?  Does he stick with the $500 million shortfall number? Does he address the recent charge of over-withholding?  Will he rely on cuts in tax credit programs despite firm House opposition?


Finally, can he insert any humor or humanizing appeal besides a sports cheer to lessen the distance between himself and his critics?



What’s the House Dem End Game?

We’re still in the opening moves of their gambit, with the sacrifice of party loyalty for the advantage of position.  Still at some point the House Dems will have to consider what they want in the end, and how they get there.


Right now, their move to put their veto-uphold votes into question by giving Speaker Steve Tilley a group hug gains them some respect with specific interest groups who are supporting Nixon in the expectation that he will veto legislation.


That gives them relevance and helps to put their political operation on firmer ground, but farthe down the road…


Presumably they don’t want Governor Peter Kinder – those there are clearly some representatives (City Dems like Reps. Jamilah Nasheed and Tishaura Jones who are trying on the idea).  Additionally they won’t want to complicit in Lieutenant Governor Tilley.


Where and when is the pivot?


Quip II

How this ends? With Talboy as the first Hispanic supreme court justice.




Look for former Frank Barnitz staffer Tony Benz to register as a lobbyist for his new gig…


Sen. Brad Lager says he’ll block the confirmation of DNR director unless Nixon withdraws the nomination and gives them more time to judge her worthiness.



Former state representative Vicki Englund writes that “popularity won’t pay our state bills.”



Lobbyist Principal Changes

From the Pelopidas website:


Jeff Brooks added Centene Corporation, Armstrong Teasdale, Missouri Media Association and Enterprise Holdings Inc.



$5k+ Contributions

Missourians for Koster - $10,000 from James Nutter Sr.




Former AARP lobbyist, now residing in Anchorage Alaska, Amy Coffman is 38 today.




Thanks to the John Combest tweet this morning alerting me that St. Louis Beacon reporter Jo Mannies is out after an emergency appendectomy yesterday.