Friday, February 2, 2018

Senate Tax Bill Compromise

Sens. Bill Eigel, Andrew Koenig and Bob Onder have struck a compromise combining their tax bills, with some elements of the governor’s plan.  The combined single bill is expected to be voted out of the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday.

Some of Eigel’s original bill remains as the framework: a top state income tax rate of 5.2% and the elimination of some bottom brackets, as well as the 6-cent gas tax increase, and the inclusion of a streamlined sales tax.  It appears that the corporate tax cut from the governor’s plan has been added along with changes to the “allocation and apportionment of corporate income” provisions to pay for it.  Also, the tax credit caps in Eigel’s original bill have been jettisoned. One source says that “overall [the new bill is] very very close to revenue neutral.”


In a political parallel universe, the governor’s non-profit, is running ads to tout Greitens’ tax reform plan (see it here) which other than what’s included in the new Eigel/Koenig/Onder bill is basically DOA now.   Pro Tem Ron Richard declared its demise yesterday at a press conference: “The governor’s tax plan, I don’t think is valid… The plan he gave to us is… got some holes in it, not too excited about it.”

Most folks see what Kurt Erickson reports is a $1 million ad campaign as an obvious attempt to shore up the governor’s upside-down approval rating and bury the images of the blindfolded hairdresser in voters’ minds.

Though one observer wonders if the governor isn’t getting played by consultants who want to get paid… When you’re 33 months out from re-elect and your consulting team is advising TV ads...I know one thing to be true - you’ve never seen Season 3 of The Wire.  (See the “He rain made You” reference here).


Q&A #1: Why Can’t the Gov’s Office Get Along with The Senate?

Short answer: Don’t want to.


One reader summed up the Senate’s displeasure with the governor…  “I believe [Pro Tem Ron] Richard has been more vocal in the last couple of days than I’ve ever heard him… strong words from Senator Richard, both today and yesterday regarding the (possible) rule change, and gubernatorial appointees and unhappiness with the budget (in comments to reporters relating to the budget: “We’re gonna do that over, too.”)… Moreover, I’m shocked at how widespread the frustration has become, as demonstrated [this week in the Senate].

Let me restate the obvious here: Governor Eric Greitens is a Republican governor with Republican supermajorities in both the House and the Senate.  Unless you’re in a Russian-type fake democracy with no minority party, this is as good as it gets.  Getting appointees confirmed and legislation passed can’t get any easier.

How in the world are they making this seem so hard?

One veteran lobbyist shook his head at this question and explained.  He says that Team Greitens hasn’t moved off the presidential pipe-dream playbook.  If the goal was to pass conservative legislation, yes it’s that easy.  But the governor wants higher approval ratings.  He wants to be an outsider when he runs for his next office.  So it’s not about passing legislation, it’s about being against something.  And the something he’s against is “corrupt career politicians,” also known as The Legislature.  It’s his ambition that prevents him from simply working with his Republican supermajorities and getting things done - without a $1 million ad campaign.


McDowell Announces

Just in time for this weekend’s Lincoln Days, Saundra McDowell released a video announcement of her candidacy for auditor.  See it here.

She becomes the third Republican seeking the auditor nomination to take to Democratic incumbent Nicole Galloway.  McDowell’s bio includes her current work in the secretary of state’s office as well as a pervious stint with the attorney general’s office.

McDowell is a newcomer about whom little is known, but she could have two demographic factors in her favor… she’s the woman against two men, and she’s from Springfield against two St. Louis area candidates.

The MOScout Weekly poll will have an initial survey of this three-way GOP primary out this weekend.


Strong January Revenue

According to the daily revenue totals, January state revenues were popping, up 24% over January 2017’s revenues.  Individual income tax was the driver, up 31%.  That brings our fiscal year-to-date number up 7.5% over last year.

One budget watcher cautions against excessive cheer: “State revenues have been growing nicely because the economy is humming… I’m thrilled to see it, but I don’t think bragging will be in order until we get through the bulk of the reason season, late May…”


Talk in the Halls

West Main Street Capitol entrance will be closed on Fridays, bringing the capitol down to one entrance.  With the legislative work week running Monday through Thursday, Fridays are a lower volume day, and this will presumably lower the security costs.


Sen. Maria Chappelle Nadal mentioned on the Senate floor a few nights ago that she’s writing a book.  Is it a tell-all?....


There’s some talk that Sen. Wayne Wallingford would make a good new executive director of the Veterans Commission.  He chaired the Veterans Committee until just last month when he took over Ways and Means, and of course from his bio… Senator Wallingford is a retired Lt. Colonel with the United States Air Force. He served on active duty for 25 years, including five tours in Vietnam and six tours in Desert Storm/Desert Shield.  Plus he’s term-limited….



US Senator Ted Cruz made a cameo on Treasurer Eric Schmitt’s “Live Town Hall” on Facebook, talking about the 529 plans that help folks save for their kids’ education.


Jason Hancock reports that the governor’s staff appears to have stopped using the records-destroying app Confide.  See it here.  Better late than never, but maybe this should have been done before the lawsuit, before the AG opened an investigation…


Speaker Todd Richardson created the Subcommittee on Mandatory Minimums.  It’s being chaired by Rep. Tom Hannegan, and will report to the Committee on Crime Prevention and Public Safety.


The latest from the Greene County whistleblower saga… See it here.


As seen in the lobbyists registrations below, the MO Supreme Court has hired their new government liaison.  It’s Patricia Churchill, coming from Armstrong Teasdale Government Strategies.


New Committees

Supporters of The Cuba Community Fire Department was formed.  It’s a PAC.

Stacey Johnson-Cosby formed a candidate committee to run for Kansas City Council Person District 6 At-Large.


Lobbyists Registrations

James Harris added Summit Group on behalf of People United for Privacy.

Keith Faddis added Mid America Regional Council.

Andrew Dziedzic added State Treasurer`s Office.

Patricia Churchill added Judicial Conference of Missouri, and Supreme Court of Missouri; and deleted Ebay Inc, AT Government Strategies LLC, and Armstrong Teasdale LLP.

Theresa Elliott deleted Sentry Insurance.

Patricia Strader deleted Missouri Appraisers Advisory Council.


$5K+ Contributions

Raise Up Missouri - $25,000 from Jobs with Justice Ballot Fund.

Freedom to Work - $400,000 from A New Missouri Inc.

Freedom to Rok - $25,000 from Jennifer Pritzker.

We Are Missouri - $76,420 from Missouri AFL-CIO General Fund.
We Are Missouri - $10,000 from UFCW Local 2008.

MO Republican Party - $15,000 from Rudy Farber.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $5,001 from Shawn Rhoads for State Representative.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $7,000 from Caremark Rx Inc.

House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $30,000 from Rex Sinquefield.



Happy birthdays to Judy Moriarty, Rep. Elaine Gannon, former Rep. Steve Hodges, Otto Fajen and Jim Foley.

Saturday: Reps. Justin Alferman and Warren Love, former Sen. Jason Crowell, former Reps. Kent Hampton and Dave Hinson, and St. Louis Committeeman Paul Fehler.

Sunday: Rep. Diane Franklin, and lobbyist Danny Pfeifer.