Thursday, February 1, 2018

Tax Reform Follow-Up

The governor’s office clarified the confusion over the governor talking of an $800 million tax cut and the Department of Revenue numbers showing half that.  The DOR’s overview sheet had changes in federal income tax deductibility and the personal income tax rate included in the same line item.

The overview sheet does show that the package would shift some of the tax collection from income taxes to sales taxes.  That has been a goal of DOR Director Joel Walters.

From an interview last year: Missouri raises 71 percent of its general revenue from the individual income tax and close to 4 percent from the corporate income tax. “Nearly 75 percent from income taxes — I would put that forward as Challenge Number One” for Missouri’s tax regime, Walters said.

However in my skim through the 400-page bill yesterday it looks like there isn’t any serious effort to tackle another one of his priorities: “Our corporate income tax has over 600 credits, exemptions, and special rules.”


To rebut worries that the minus numbers on the bottom line meant that the package wasn’t revenue neutral, they quoted Professor Joseph Haslag“For major tax reform efforts like this one, any estimated increase or decrease in revenue projections of less than $50 million is considered revenue neutral by any reputable economist--and it is actually a rather remarkable achievement. It is particularly remarkable given the number of moving parts working together and the fact that the increased revenue from economic growth this tax reform would produce is not factored into this scoring at all.”


Yesterday on the Senate floor Sen. Rob Schaaf said he won’t support EITC piece of the tax reform bill.  He considers it a deal-breaker because it creates a disincentive to work.


New Approach Approaching Target

According to WeedNews, New Approach passed a signature milestone in its efforts to put medical marijuana on the ballot.  See it here“After pushing through some bad weather the first couple weeks of the year, our petition drive to place medical cannabis on the November ballot has rocketed into 2018. Last week, our paid petitioners posted their best week of the campaign so far, and we have now collected more than 175,000 signatures of the roughly 280,000 we will need to submit! Equally impressive, nearly 100,000 of those signatures were gathered by volunteers!”


Burn Hollywood Burn?

Dems were dancing in the twitter-verse yesterday as a tape of Josh Hawley apparently drawing a line between the changing sexual mores of the past 50 years and the prevalence of human trafficking. Dems are hoping this was “an Akin moment.”  We ended up with a back-and-forth between the Senate candidates on Twitter.  See it here.

GOPers think that Hawley’s attack on Hollywood plays well across Missouri; while Dems say it’s an attack on women.

Bottom-line: It’s a Murphy Brown rerun folks.


Dems also taunted Hawley over his “weak” quarter.  He raised about a million dollars.  However in today’s environment, for a top target Senate seat, that’s apparently chump change.  And one MOScouter noted that Hawley has $2M less cash on-hand than Congresswoman Ann Wagner….


Senate Debates Hearing Rules, Greitens Appts

Yesterday was one of those days where the Senate demonstrated how it is a totally different legislative body than the House.

The House came in, perfected a few bills, did a third read of a bill and then knocked off for the day having made some progress.

The Senate spent hours debating a resolution about whether they should formally adopt a previously unwritten rule that legislators not testify in Senate hearings.  Then after the debates and amendments, it never got to a vote.

After that, the Senate debated the governor’s appointees to the Missouri Housing Development Commission.  They weren’t debating whether to confirm the appointees.  The governor was withdrawing them.  They were debating whether to send the appointees back to the governor or not.  Again after hours of debate, some were sent back; others weren’t and will likely be revisited today.

Readers know I love the Senate.  It’s unpredictable. Anyone can jump into the debate at any time and take it in an unplanned direction.  Sometimes you can see a few steps ahead on the legislative path; sometimes you have no idea where it’s leading.  Alliances shift depending on the issue; loyalty to party is subservient to being true to one’s district and one’s conscience.

So even when “nothing gets done” like last night, it’s still a thing of beauty.


SLBJ Endorses Wiemann’s Bill

St. Louis Business Journal endorsed Rep. John Wiemann’s HB 2242 to put municipal financial information on a public website.

From the editorial: Here’s a basic tenet of good government: If you spend taxpayer money, you should be able to account for it. Yet so many Missouri city officials won’t. Of 152 cities contacted by the Business Journal and Show-Me Institute, only 47 said they’d provide information about five years of payments for free. The city of Battlefield tried to charge us $35,101. Northwoods, in north St. Louis County, was essentially unreachable… Fortunately, state government can force the hand of its subdivisions. Legislators should pass, and Gov. Eric Greitens should sign, John Wiemann’s bill, which would establish the "Missouri Municipality Government Expenditure Database." It would include the amounts spent in each fiscal year beginning on or after June 1, 2019.  Cities that don’t comply with the Missouri bill could be fined $100 a day…



Rep. Hannah Kelly was appointed to the House Budget Committee.  She takes the place of Rep. Cloria Brown.


Speaker Todd Richardson created several new subcommittees:  The Subcommittee on Agriculture Education will report to the Committee on Agriculture Policy, and be chaired by Rep. Hannah Kelly; The Subcommittee on Creation and Appointments will report to the Committee on Insurance Policy, and be chaired by Rep. John Wiemann; The Subcommittee on Scope of Practice will report to the Committee on Professional Registration and Licensing, and be chaired by Rep. Chrissy Sommer; The Subcommittee on Second Amendment Preservation will report to the Committee on General Laws and be chaired by Rep. Chuck Basye; The Subcommittee on Tax Credit Review will report to the Special Committee on Government Oversight, and be chaired by Rep. Jered Taylor.


Governor Eric Greitens appointed Heather Miller, of Camdenton, as the Camden County Prosecuting Attorney.


Help Wanted

The Conservation Federation of Missouri seeks Director of Development.  “The Director of Development is responsible for planning, organizing, and directing the Conservation Federation’s fundraising, including: the major gifts program, planned giving, Business Alliance, select donor events and capital campaigns. The Director of Development reports to the Executive Director and works closely with the Board of Directors in all development and fundraising endeavors… Starting Salary: $50,000…”  See it here.


The Conservation Federation of Missouri seeks Membership Development Coordinator. “Develop, execute, and measure promotional plans and campaigns intended to engage, recruit, and retain members/membership; lead membership marketing strategy, development and execution; Track and identify opportunities, through research and analytics to increase future campaign success, engagement of members and the public; use data to develop appropriate membership acquisition and retention strategies by identifying potential membership markets, and monitoring trends… Salary Range: $35,000 – $40,000…”  See it here.


Lobbyists Registrations

Shannon Cooper and Nancy Giddens added MO Gaming Association.

Greg Porter, Danny Pfeifer, Rebecca Lohmann, and Alex Eaton added National Basketball Association (NBA) and Major League Baseball (MLB).

James Harris added Missourians for Quality Health Care Choices.

David Willis added Missouri Cable Telecommunications Association.


$5K+ Contributions

Gannon For Jefferson County - $30,000 from Dennis Gannon.

Missouri Rural Economic Development Political Action Committee - $10,000 from Globe Building Company.

We Are Missouri - $10,000 from UNITE HERE Local Union #74.

New Approach Missouri - $10,000 from Mike Seitz.