The Talk: Richardson Considers What’s Next
As Speaker Todd Richardson mulls his future he’s considering a range of possibilities in public service – though not elected office. Among the opportunities that has piqued his interest is Medicaid Director.
One source aware of Richardson’s deliberations says that the motivation for Richardson is a “desire to continue to serve.” Another source close to Richardson said that the challenge of Medicaid – containing costs while providing good service – was appealing to Richardson because it’s been on the legislature’s radar his entire career, but never adequately addressed.
The increased costs of the state’s Medicaid program have bedeviled state budgeteers for years. Its seemingly unabated growth is seen as crowding out other priorities each budget year.
Richardson spent his early years in the House developing a reputation as someone who could dig deep on policy and wasn’t afraid to tackle the thorniest issues. That’s partially why something like Medicaid Director would seem to be a good fit for him. He could get wonky with it – but also bring the political savvy necessary to make change happen.
Richardson leaves the speakership as respected as he was when he stepped into the position. “He’s the sort of guy who would have served as speaker for thirty years if we didn’t have term limits, he’s that good at it,” one staffer told me.
The Talk: 2020 Gov Primary?
One building dweller tells me that the “chatter is increasing that Jay Ashcroft is preparing a primary challenge to Parson.” I asked around and couldn’t find evidence of it. But one observer pointed out “I think all the statewides (Kehoe, Schmidt and Ashcroft) are [looking at it] because Parson may not run again or he might show weakness and he wasn’t elected to governor…”
If you think this talk is awfully early, think again. With campaign contribution limits, it takes work – and time – to gather up the three and four-figure checks to make a seven or eight-figure war-chest for a statewide campaign.
The Talk: Greitens Again
One MOScouter backs up Jeff Smith’s tweet that Eric Greitens has sniffed around a comeback. “Can confirm that Greitens has called several donors. None has confessed that they have pledged their support as of yet. Most office holders just want him to stay away…”
Parson on RTW “Time to Move On”
Governor Mike Parson was well received at a morning forum yesterday sponsored by the St. Louis Business Journal. On the subject of the right to work didn’t know what the legislature would do, but having supported RTW in the past he thinks the people have spoken on the issue and “it’s time to move on.”
No trips to Iowa in future as Parson told the audience that he wouldn’t be seeking any higher office.
With the September 15 estimated income tax money now coming in, budget watchers are nervously eying the daily tax receipts to see if the disappointing trend continues. So far – and perhaps it’s still too early for sweaty palms – the numbers continue to be lethargic.
According to the close of business figures from September 17, the monthly individual income tax receipts were down 5.23% compared to the same time last year.
It’s still a bit of a puzzle because the macro-economic picture (tight labor markets, booming stocking market, $1 trillion fiscal stimulus) should be reflected in Missourians’ paychecks and therefore income tax receipts. Sales tax receipts have continued to climb.
Perhaps these numbers will be “smoothed out” as the fiscal year unfolds, but it’s got me wondering: could the federal tax changes have created some unforeseen consequences for state revenues?
Galloway Questions Hawthorn Cushy Jobs
Press release: State Auditor Nicole Galloway today released an audit of the Economic Development Advancement Fund (EDAF), which is primarily overseen by the Department of Economic Development (DED). The fund supports an exclusive contract with the Hawthorn Foundation for business development and marketing, but the audit found little oversight or accountability in how taxpayer dollars are spent. Approximately 86% of spending from the EDAF goes to the Hawthorn Foundation and its subsidiary, the Missouri Partnership… However, the DED only receives general information about expenditures. During the audit, the State Auditor's Office requested details to review, but the DED declined to ask the Partnership for specific documentation on spending… [O]ver a three year period, approximately 60 percent of Partnership expenditures were for payroll and bonus payments, but the department did not receive itemized salary information for how more than $4.3 million was spent.
Additional concerns were identified in the way incentive payments were awarded by DED. Under the contract, these incentives are based on the number of jobs announced per year, but it appears the per-job performance rate was adjusted to ensure the Hawthorn Foundation received the maximum payment every year. The DED also did not independently verify the number of new jobs announced, which resulted in inconsistencies in these numbers… The report also detailed actions taken by the DED to use funding from the Missouri Development Finance Board to continue to make payments to the Hawthorn Foundation, despite funding being cut from the budget.
Fulton Sun reports that Sen. Jeanie Riddle “has been appointed to the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee. The appropriations committee is charged with considering all bills and matters pertaining to general appropriations and the disbursement...”
Former Rep. Marilyn Ruestman is seeking to become treasurer Newton County. See the amended committee filing here.
Press release: Some of the country's most recognizable leaders and grassroots activists joined forces to launch the National Voter Protection Action Fund (NVPAF), a 501(c)4 focused on combating voter suppression and supporting election protection efforts. The fund will provide resources to local organizations working to increase ballot access, support voter protection mobilization, and engage in anti-suppression advocacy. NVPAF co-founder Don Calloway stated, "This election season is expected to yield historic turnouts in several states with long track records of voter suppression….” For the 2018 election cycle, NVPAF will focus its efforts on the following battleground states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Missouri, and Wisconsin.
Among the governor’s appointments yesterday (see them here) was Peter Herschend, whose re-appointment to the State Board of Education was blocked by Sen. Jamilah Nasheed last week. Now the governor is making Herschend a recess appointment.
Washington Post reports on the first fatality from Lime-Scooting. See it here.
Wall Street Journal reports that “teen use of e-cigarettes has soared this year, according to new research conducted in 2018 that suggests fast-changing youth habits will pose a challenge for public-health officials, schools and parents. The number of high-school students who used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days has risen roughly 75% since last year, according to a person who has seen new preliminary federal data. That would equate to about three million, or about 20% of high-school students…”
Are St. Louis County politics about to hit a new low? Look at this ad from Steve Stenger’s Republican challenger.
Tony Luetkemeyer (GOP, Senate 34) fundraiser hosted by Ray Wagner and Enterprise Holdings Inc PAC at Weber Grill – 12:30PM.
Ryan Dillon (Dem, Senate 16) fundraiser with special guest Sally Field, St. Louis – 4PM.
Jill Schupp Photo Shoot & Family Picnic at Stacy Park, Olivette – 10AM.
2018 NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Gala at Hilton Frontenac – 6PM.
Andrea Bough deleted Red LSE LLC, and Kansas City Streetcar Authority.
Friends of Bob Dixon - $5,100 from Greene County Republican Central Committee.
MSCEW PAC Federal Committee - $40,000 from IBEW PAC Voluntary Fund.
SaferMO.Com - $25,000 from The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City.
SaferMO.Com - $25,000 from KC BizPAC, The Political Action Committee of Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.
Missouri Democratic State Committee - $25,000 from CHIPP Political Account.
Raise Up Missouri - $25,000 from Laborers International Union of North America Laborers Local 110.
New Approach - $66,500 from New Approach PAC.
House Republican Campaign Committee Inc - $30,000 from Southwestern Bell Telephone LP – AT&T.
Happy birthdays to Pat Strader, former Rep. Roman LeBlanc, and Tony Luetkemeyer (candidate House 34).
Saturday: Rep. Bruce Franks, and David Willis.
Sunday: Harry Otto.