Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Greitens Starts Tax Tour

Governor Eric Greitens started his tax reform roll-out yesterday.  See the mighty Jason Rosenbaum’s article on it here.  As he indicates, there were more details revealed, but still a lot of details missing.  The actual bill language was just making the rounds late yesterday, and my attempts to get an actual spreadsheet showing the math behind the proposal were unsuccessful.

Overall it was another good day for the governor simply because folks weren’t asking if he took a picture or not, or if he’s still using Confide.   (That’s not to say there weren’t some people raising the issue).

 

Q&A #1: Is This Doable?

Short answer: Probably not.

 

It’s a tough lift because there are so many components to it.  And to maintain its revenue neutral bottom-line you have to keep it all together.  That’s very difficult.  Closing some of the “loopholes” will provoke opposition.  And several proposals haven’t been popular with the Republican majority in the past.  Will they swallow the internet sales tax for a lower income tax rate?  Will they close the business timely filing discount and use the money here instead of another purpose – like roads?  Do they want to decouple from the federal tax code?

Business leaders issued positive statements on the general outline yesterday. They’re excited about the lowering of the corporate tax rate.  But will they continue to support it if some pieces fall away and that rate cut doesn’t materialize as hoped?

Sen. Mike Cierpiot will carry the bill in the Senate.  His SB 939 will be the vehicle, and will receive a hearing this morning in the Senate Ways and Means Committee where he will presumably introduce the governor’s language.

 

IPs Filed For Fuel Tax

Seven initiative petitions dealing funding for transportation were filed.  See them here.  Some are straight fuel taxes, but a couple of them are quite clever.  They propose a new sales tax for law enforcement, not roads.  That is, they would designate the new money for the Missouri State Highway Patrol.  In 2017, the MSHP spent about $240 million from MoDOT’s budget.  But freeing that up, there would be more money available for roads.  And presumably a law enforcement tax polls better than a roads tax – which has been unsuccessful in the past.

The petitions were filed by Terry Briggs, executive director of SITE Improvement Association.

 

Historic Tax Credit Advocates Site Local Revenue Impact

Today advocates for the Historic Tax Credit will be in the capitol rallying to preserve the incentive.  They’ll be making an argument rarely heard in the debate: any analysis of the credit that only looks at state revenues misses the impact of the program on local budgets.

From their handout: When historic properties are saved and rehabilitated using the Missouri Historic Tax Credit, the net financial benefit to local schools and local governments is significant and ongoing. That’s because property values increase, often dramatically, after rehabilitation using the Missouri Historic Tax Credit - including properties that were paying as little as zero in local property taxes prior to being saved and preserved.

To illustrate the real impact of the Missouri Historic Tax Credit’s impact on local property taxes, this study commissioned for The Missouri Alliance For Historic Preservation looked at actual online property tax records for 215 addresses in six counties that have received Missouri Historic Tax Credits over the past 20 years. We examined records for properties in Boone, Buchanan, Cole, Greene, Jasper and St. Charles counties. Overall, the six counties billed those properties a combined total of more than $1.7 million in local property taxes in 2017 alone… These are annual revenues helping local schools and local governments serve local communities, even as rehabilitated historic properties provide new life and new purpose for Main Streets and neighborhoods.

 

Merideth on ALJs Consultants

Rep. Peter Merideth’s Capitol Report has some interesting observations on the budget, he admonishes constituents to WASH THEIR HANDS so they don’t get felled by the flu as he did.  See it here.

Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) - While hearing testimony from Department of Labor and Industrial Relations it was mentioned that their Division of Workers’ Compensation is requesting funds to pay for 8 additional administrative law judges.  This item jumped out at me, because its a reversal of a fight we had just last year, when Republicans tried to remove slots for 12 ALJs (all of Nixon’s appointees).  We fought in conference committee and at least got that number reduced to 8.  Now, it seems the governor simply wants to restore the positions in order to fill them with his own people. While I tend to agree the positions are needed, I’m conflicted because I don’t want to support such a partisan move to stack the ALJ positions with potentially anti-labor judges, or set the precedent that to stack such important roles as judgeships we will simply remove previous gubernatorial appointees with those from the new administration.

 

Consultant Fees - Another interesting note from the hearing with the Office of Administration came in the discussion of a line item for around $7 million for private “consultants” to dig into government inefficiencies and make recommendations for cost savings.  While I’m sure some inefficiencies exist and there is room for improvements, I worry about an expenditure this big for private consulting fees with no clear guidance or anticipated savings to follow.  Rep. Kip Kendrick also noted that this appeared to be the job description for what we were told the governor’s newly created COO position was supposed to do.  As of yet, we seem to be seeing annual cost for that position, with no actual savings following.  Notably, the budget also proposes significant cuts to the workforce, which the governor claims to be supported from “cost savings and efficiency measures,” but he had no explanation of what will lead to that savings.  It seems our already underpaid state workers would most likely be the ones to take the hit.  More to come…

 

Erdmann On Parson’ Twitter Follow-Up

One MOScouter says… Drew [Erdmann] was in Hawaii with his family on vacation.  Trip was entirely at his own personal expense.  He heard about the USS Missouri event and agreed to step away from his family to represent our office there.  Completely unfair to imply that his trip was on taxpayer dime.

 

Hegeman Files Resolution Supporting NAFTA

Tipster writes…. There is a coordinated effort in Missouri to encourage President Donald Trump not to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Red state Republicans worry leaving the trade deal will be a drag on the Trump economy. On Monday, Sen. Dan Hegeman filed a resolution yesterday urging the President to stay in NAFTA. The effort seems to be led by farm organizations, who have the most to lead if trade is disrupted between the US, Canada and Mexico. According to the US Chamber, Missouri would be one of the top 5 states economically impacted in a negative way if we are to pull out.  See the national coalition website here.  Several Missouri members listed on the site: Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Corn Growers Association, Missouri Dairy Association, Missouri Pork Association, Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Association, and Burns and McDonnell.

 

Morgan Joins HBStrategies

The press release: Husch Blackwell Strategies (HBS), a leading lobbying and government affairs consulting firm, is pleased to announce that Christian Morgan, a nationally recognized political consultant who has deep experience with both campaign management and public policy advocacy, and Alexander Schenck, a seasoned Capitol Hill staffer with science and environmental policy expertise, will join HBS’s federal lobbying team, providing a level of depth and scope of experience that places the Jefferson City-based firm among the top federal lobbying consultancies anchored in the Midwest…

Most recently, Morgan served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) from 2012 to 2017, during which time he developed a legislative portfolio focused on financial services, commercial regulation, sex trafficking, identity theft, and foreign affairs. Morgan served as Executive Director of the Kansas Republican Party during the 2008 election cycle, guiding Republicans to one of their few Congressional upsets of the cycle. After leading the Kansas GOP, Morgan became Vice President of Axiom Strategies in Kansas City where he managed 54 Congressional campaigns across the country over two election cycles.

 

Bits

Treasurer Eric Schmitt is “St. Louis University's newest adjunct faculty member. He will come to campus in a few weeks to teach a special topics class in the philosophy department called ‘21st Century American Civics.’”  See it here.

 

Secretary of State John Ashcroft joined an amicus brief asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the Pennsylvania gerrymandering ruling because it “will cause chaos in their states.”  See it here.

 

The Twenty-First Circuit Judicial Commission announced the panel of three nominees to be submitted to Governor Eric Greitens to fill the circuit judge vacancy in St. Louis County created by the retirement of Judge Carolyn Whittington. Those nominated by the commission are: Judge Joseph L. Green, Peter W. Gullborg, and Judge Mary Elizabeth Ott.

 

New Committee

Jeffco Watch was formed.  It’s a PAC.  Its treasurer is Robert Mellor.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Mike Grote added HPRA; and deleted Citizens For A Better Columbia, and Cummins, Inc.

Andy Blunt, Jay Reichard, Angela Schulte, and Ginger Steinmetz added Concentra.

Andy Blunt added CHC Strategies; and deleted Jordan Valley Community Health Center, and AEcom.

Ginger Steinmetz added CHC Strategies, Altria Client Services LLC and its Affiliates, Ameren Missouri, Dell Technologies Inc., Maritz Motivation Solutions Inc., Mednax, MillerCoors LLC, Missouri Hospital Association, Missouri Marine Dealers Association, and St. Louis Blues.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Eastern Missouri Senate PAC - $100,000 from Missouri Senate Campaign Committee.

Citizens for Ron Rammaha - $10,000 from Ron Rammaha.

Find the Cures - $44,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to Chuck Caisley.