MOScout Daily Update: Parson Revives Transportation Issue - Emery's Reform Committee - Luetky Hearts Students - Justus Crushes Quarter and more...

Parson Revives Transportation

While there are opponents to the Governor Mike Parson’s bonding plan, his State of the State address did accomplish one remarkable feat: it returned transportation funding to the front of the state’s agenda.

This summer’s Prop D campaign drew bipartisan support.  The governor and lieutenant governor barnstormed the state to pitch the tax increase.  The campaign hired a first-rate team, and raised millions of dollars. 

When it failed at the polls despite the big push, the consensus was that the issue would hibernate for a half-dozen years or so.  Politicians don’t like to put their names on a tax increase and then have nothing to show for it.  They were licking their wounds.  And not planning to touch the issue for a while.

The most politically expediate path for Parson was to wait four or five years.  Let road maintenance deteriorate further.  Perhaps a few bottlenecks would develop ad bedevil drivers.

Then return with a funding plan. After Missourians felt the pain. 

Instead Parson took to the podium as problem solver-in-chief.  His instincts are to stick with his priorities and not be deterred by conventional political wisdom.

His decision to thrust the issue back to the fore has Republicans feeling their way on this issue…

·         Senate Pro Tem Dave Schatz endorsed the plan (“I was especially encouraged to hear the governor stress his continued commitment to improving our crumbling infrastructure and finding a long-term solution that will be palatable to Missourians”).

·         Sens. Denny Hoskins and Bill Eigel seemed to cheer the move because it doesn’t rely on a tax increase.

·         The biggest question mark right now is House Budget Chair Cody Smith.  This will be his first stare-down with the administration.  He might use it as an opportunity to brandish his fiscally conservative credentials.  Or he might show he’s open to working with the popular Republican governor.

·         Ultimately though Republicans have a tough question to answer: how is it conservative for the government to borrow money to pay for something that the voters said wasn’t worthy of their tax money? There’s no printing press at the state level.  The borrowing must be paid back with tax money.


Reminder Of The Obvious: Personalities can determine political positions.  “Conservatives” wailed and torn off their clothes in despair to protest the budget deficit after the financial crisis during the Obama years.  But it’s really really really hard to find a Tea Partiers now, as we stare at a trillion-dollar deficit under Trump.


Emery’s Reform Committee

Sen. Ed Emery’s Government Reform Committee might be one of the hotspots to watch this session.

Emery’s very conservative; he has a habit of blaming pornography for most of society’s ills; and there’s no way not to describe him as “old school.”  But he’s considered fair and straightforward.

He’s the sponsor of SB 7 – one of the high priorities for those seeking more tort reform this year.  And it was referred to his committee instead of Judiciary. 

The Reform Committee looks to be accommodating to Emery’s conservative agenda. It’s stacked with freshmen senators who might be unwilling to buck the senior senator.  Plus, with ultra-conservative freshmen Sens. Cindy O’Laughlin and Eric Burlison on the committee, he only needs one more vote to move bills along.

What else might end up being referred to Emery’s Reform Committee? Maybe his education reform bills.  He filed a few more recently. For example, SB 271 would remove the State Board of Education and DESE’s authority over charter schools and give it to the Missouri Charter Public School Commission.


Quote of the Day

Lobbyist: “My twitter strategy is to suck up to legislators.”


Luetky: From Student Rep to Student Champion

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer filed SB 265.  It would add a voting student member to the Board of Curators of the University of Missouri.

A dozen years ago, Luetkemeyer himself was a (non-voting) student representative to the Board.  See it here.

Tony Luetkemeyer, 23, a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, was sworn in Thursday, July 26, to serve as Student Representative to the UM Board of Curators. A native of Farmington, Luetkemeyer took his oath of office at the start of the Board of Curators annual retreat in Marceline, Mo… Luetkemeyer has been active in activities on the Columbia campus, including his election in 2005 as student body president. In 2006, he was elected to chair the Intercampus Student Council, which has representatives from all four University of Missouri campuses. He graduated in May 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in history and political science, magna cum laude, making him the third generation of his family to graduate from the University…. Governor Matt Blunt appointed Luetkemeyer last week…


Justus Crushes Quarter

Press release from the Justus campaign: The Justus for Mayor campaign announced that it raised $219,029 in the fourth quarter of 2018, putting it far ahead of any other campaign in the field during that same period. In fact, Justus’ fourth quarter total exceeds the total raised by all of the other candidates combined… During Q4 of 2018 nearly half (47%) of the money raised by the campaign was from so-called low dollar donors who gave $200 or less. After her successful fundraising quarter, Justus has now raised $407,738 for the election cycle. 



After a successful cycle helping Todd Graves at MOGOP, prominent fundraiser Jeff Layman will not be seeking another term as finance chairman.


Congressman Jason Smith apologizes after shouting on the House floor for a Democrat to “go back to Puerto Rico.”  See it here.  Yikers!  Maybe just frustration as he’s getting used to life in the minority.  Maybe just politics now, with a president who enjoys making up schoolyard nicknames to call people.


eMailbag: House Committee Chairs

One thing you missed… All returning women members of the caucus have been appointed to a chair or vice-chair a committee, or were elected by the caucus to the leadership team.  Eleven women are chairing committees or subcommittees and Ruth and Pike are both the first women to ever chair the Transportation and Pension Committees.   


eMailbag on Galloway and DOR

[Nicole Galloway] has done a great job as auditor, but she needs to stop characterizing DOR’s withholding table mistake as a rigged action. First, I don’t have any insight into this, but I’m very confident that this wasn’t anything more than an honest accident by some DOR employees trying to their best. As I understand it, the error was a long-standing miscalculation that was only discovered when it was being updated following tax reform. Accidents happen, especially in area as complicated as tax. Second, and I can’t emphasize this enough, the error was a taxpayer FRIENDLY! Withholding only affects how much money is taken out of each paycheck to go towards a taxpayer’s final tax liability for the year—not the actual amount owed. It is to the benefit of taxpayers to get to enjoy the time value of money until it is owed on tax day…


New Committees

People for Public Schools was formed.  It’s a PAC.  It’s treasurer is Charles Morgan.

Debra Carnahan formed a candidate committee (Debra Carnahan 4 Stl) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 6, as a Democrat.

Judith Arnold formed a candidate committee (Neighbors To Elect Judith Arnold) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 18, as a Democrat.

Mitchell Sudduth formed a candidate committee (Committee To Elect Mitch Sudduth) to run for Jackson County Council.


$5K+ Contributions

Fair Missouri - $50,000 from Republican State Committee.

Progress KC - $25,000 from Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.



Happy birthdays to Robert Knodell, Bob May, Carl Bearden, Shawn Rhoads and Bill Lant.

Saturday: Scott Faughn, Michele Kratky, and Michael Butler.


MOScout Schedule

Look for the Weekender tomorrow, but then I’ll be off on Monday (so with the legislature).  Be back Tuesday.