Senate Perfects Tax Reform
In a big win for Sen. Bill Eigel, the Senate perfected his tax reform package. Eigel worked out compromises – corporate tax cut was halved, for example – so that there was remarkably little debate or resistance to it.
It’s still a bit of an obstacle course to navigate and keep all the various constituencies happy, but to get it out of the Senate soon after Spring Break raises the likelihood that it could make it across the finish line.
Star on McCaskill-Franks Spat
Kansas City Star reports on friction between Senator Claire McCaskill and African American leaders. See it here.
Pull Quote: African American leaders in Missouri are frustrated with what they see as Sen. Claire McCaskill’s lackluster engagement with minority voters. Frustrated enough that they refused to sign a letter pushing back against comments made last month by Bruce Franks, a prominent black activist and state legislator from St. Louis, who called on McCaskill to “show up” and earn the support of minority voters in her state. “I’m going to vote for Claire, but Claire is going to have to bring her ass to St. Louis,” Franks said to applause at a town hall he hosted
In response to Franks comments, McCaskill had asked African American elected officials in Kansas City and St. Louis to sign the letter. Among those who were approached by McCaskill are U.S. Reps. Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City and Lacy Clay of St. Louis, and state Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, the minority leader in the Missouri House. Each declined to sign. “I’m 100 percent certain that nobody signed it,” Cleaver said in an interview Wednesday with The Kansas City Star….
Calzone Loses Court Cases
Ron Calzone had filed lawsuits against SB 638 (from 2016 session), and SB 665 (also from 2016 session) alleging the they were Hammerschmidt violations. It looks like Judge Jon Bettem ruled on both these cases, finding in favor of the legislature. See the very similar rulings here and here.
What I Missed on Filing News
Sen. Gary Romine’s son filed to run for House against Speaker-elect Elijah Haahr. It’s a head-scratcher that Romine wouldn’t dissuade his son from running what will be a very long-shot race. One consultant says, “The only thing I can think of is: it is a cynical play. 1) wants to push the incoming speaker and see what he is made of 2) show senate colleagues he isn't afraid of a fight with the house. There really is no other plausible reason. You can say he couldn't stop his son, but then don't introduce him as a candidate on the floor. Anyway you look at it, it's poorly conceived. The House will of course take umbrage and maybe stop any legislative priorities for the foreseeable future for Romine, and his son will get hit by a campaign freight train…”
Word is that Rep. Courtney Curtis wasn’t able to file because he still owed Missouri Ethics Commission fined. The news brought chortles from labor advocates.
And the Republican who filed against Sen. Jill Schupp must be a placeholder because if this is the candidate they’re putting up against her, it’s not much of a challenge. Assuming it’s the same “Gregory B. Powers,” he has a list of Casenet issues involving late taxes.
Greitens Scandal Bits
CNN reports that Governor Eric Greitens is starting radio ads (but only a $30K buy), saying that the liberals are trying to stop his agenda. From one MOScouter: Given where Greitens is starting from and that's under water, $30K on radio won't buy him a life preserver. For all the talk of massive dark money dollars, this strange ad copy and the anemic ad dollar buy to drive the message home makes me wonder if donors are fleeing and his money is drying up. Intuitively that's understandable, but the Greitens folks still are accustomed to having money to burn. Lawyers and consultants will burn it up quickly.”
Tipster says that Danny Laub is now on Confide…
On Facebook, Sen. Rob Schaaf rails against Greitens effect on the MOGOP… “The Missouri Republican Party is in danger! Recent polling shows Missouri Republican officeholders with about the same approval as Governor Greitens (i.e. in the tank.) The corruption surrounding party leadership is off the charts. Republican candidates are in trouble!... the governor (who used to be a democrat) cares a whit about Missouri Republicans, he should resign now and end the infection eating away at the party…”
I had three different people tell me that Rep. Shawn Rhoads is getting the blame for being the loose lips on the House Special Investigative. But one lobbyist cautions me, “I think there are people who would like to use some sort of ‘leak’ scandal to reshuffle the committee…”
Following up on Greitens’ attorneys helping reassure supporters… One reader says, “This could be a big deal if Gardner says Greitens waved his attorney client privileges by allowing his lawyers to speak with 3rd parties (donors).” But another thinks “You can pierce the privilege but you only by divulging what your client said . I am assuming the attorneys were smart enough to just say the case is going great - we are kicking their ass - we filed this motion etc…”
Attorney General Josh Hawley on Fox calls Greitens’ “situation very grave,” and bad for Missouri, but doesn’t call on him to resign. See it here.
Driving State Budgets
The Wall Street Journal has an article explaining that state budgets have been hijacked by the growth of Medicaid and pension costs. See it here.
Pull Quote: As state and local officials prepare their next budgets, many are finding that spending decisions have already been made for them by two must-fund line items that barely mattered when baby boomers such as Mr. Leavitt were growing up: Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled, and public-employee health and retirement costs. These days, they consume about one out of every five tax dollars collected by state and local governments. That is the highest share since Medicaid was created in 1965. Postretirement health benefits, which are harder to quantify, add to that burden and have cumulatively cost states more than $100 billion since 2008, according to government financial disclosures compiled by Merritt Research Services. Those costs are outpacing growth in tax revenue year after year….
Governor Eric Greitens appointed Ronald D. Boyer to the Air Conservation Commission, Tina L. Klocke to the Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents, and Todd Mayfield to the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council.
Still nothing so far on Missouri Ethics Commission appointments….
Sara Michael formed a candidate committee (Sara Michael For Missouri) to run for House 60 as a Democrat.
SEIU National Fast Food Workers Union seeks Communication Specialist. “SEIU National Fast Food Workers Union is hiring 2 full-time Communications Specialists to cover the Western and Midsouth States. We seek individuals who are interested in a career fighting alongside low wage workers who are leading the campaign to win ‘$15 and a Union.’ SEIU NFFWU is working to expand the movement and deepen the successful fights to raise employment standards and unite workers in organizing their union in the fast food industry through national, state and community campaigns... Salary: $45k - $55k…”
Cruz Giovanni Garibay added First American Title Insurance Company, A Nebraska Corporation.
Josh Schisler added Missouri Justice Coalition.
We Are Missouri - $75,000 from Missouri AFL-CIO General Fund.
Teamsters Local Union No. 688 Political Action Committee - $10,668 from DRIVE Committee.
Missourians for Patient Care - $175,000 from Missourians for Patient Care.
Missourians for Patient Care - $20,000 from Missourians for Patient Care.
Freedom to Work - $10,000 from Airport Investment Co Inc.
Keep Government Accountable - $22,400 from Rex Sinquefield.
Keep Government Accountable - $25,000 from CHIPP Political Account.
Happy birthdays to Will Scharf, Rep. Nathan Beard, Zachary Brunnert, and former Reps. Ellen Brandom and Neal St. Onge.