Budget Takes Center Ring
Today the main focus will be on the state budget.
At noon, the House Budget Committee will hear from the Department of Revenue about the withholding tables debacle.
But first the Senate Appropriations Committee will start its budget overview this morning. They’ll meet at 8:30AM. The seats are so hot, the line to get in may already be forming. (I’m told that folks at yesterday’s organizational meeting who “reserved” their seats for this morning’s hearing will find their reservations were cancelled.)
· Revenue numbers look shockingly bad at this point. Folks are still hopeful that it’s entirely the result of DOR’s withholding table error. But, as of the close of business January 18, individual income tax receipts for the month were 50% below where they were last January. There could be a hiccup day or two in there depending on how the calendar falls and when checks come in. However, in real dollars that’s $356 million. That makes budget watchers nervous. Fiscal year to date, state revenues were down 8% ($468 million) as of January 18.
· Right now, everyone is assuming the revenue gap will evaporate when Missourians pay their full taxes in April. If that doesn’t happen and there’s something else behind the shortfall, it will be full-on panic time. Up the creek without a paddle.
· Senate Appropriations Chair Dan Hegeman, in his Capitol Report, sounds like he’s largely on-board with Governor Mike Parson’s budget priorities, including bonding for road maintenance, and a state employee raise.
· But others are asking questions. Sens. Bill Eigel and Bob Onder indicated on the Senate floor yesterday that they’ll support the bonding proposal only if it tackles “bigger” projects, like rebuilding I-70.
· The Senate’s Conservative Caucus (look for an official announcement of their formation tomorrow) may well stake out a position that any new revenues (from gaming or internet sales tax) be paired with lower taxes elsewhere to keep the overall tax burden on Missourians unchanged.
Haefner for Parson
Former Rep. Marsha Haefner will be going to work for Governor Mike Parson. She’ll be in the St. Louis office doing liaison work.
Haefner has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate for state senate in 2020. She’d be a strong candidate as Republicans try to wrestle Senate 1 from Dems. Sen. Scott Sifton will be termed. Rep. Doug Beck is expected to be the Democratic nominee.
The job keeps her in the mix in St. Louis, making connections in the business community. It doesn’t signal that she’s either for sure running or not running.
Schmitt Announces Safe Streets Initiative
From the press release: [T]he Safer Streets initiative will feature unprecedented cooperation between the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Attorney General’s office, as well as various law enforcement agencies… [The initiative will pair] the Attorney General’s office with the U.S. Attorney’s office and making three to five prosecutors “Special Assistant United States Attorneys” to help assist in fighting and prosecuting violent crime. These prosecutors will be funded by the Attorney General’s office, but will be supervised dually by the Attorney General’s office and the U.S. Attorney’s office. The Special Assistant United States Attorneys will handle all types of federal cases, specifically homicides, carjackings, and gun crimes. The effort will be focused on specific geographic locations within St. Louis, and the increased prosecutorial support will assist local law enforcement’s efforts within this area. The initiative will also focus on continual community outreach….
Kinder for Heschend
Former Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder has been working for Peter Herschend to engage evangelicals and increase their voter participation. The effort seems to have originated in southwest Missouri’s Seventh Congressional District, but is now larger and includes outreach to
evangelical churches and voter drives “all over the state” according to one tipster.
· MOScouter says that they hear “an official MEC complaint was filed against St. Louis City Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner for failing to file the January report and for violating the consent order.”
· In the New Committees (below) Unite STL was formed. We’ll see what it turns out to be, but it certainly looks like a vehicle to support the St. Louis City-County merger proposal which will be unveiled next week.
This morning in front of the Supreme Court will be “SC97377, In re: Katherine Anne Dierdorf, an attorney discipline case originating in St. Louis.” Katie is the daughter of Cardinal Football great Dan Dierdorf who got tangled up in a police mess a few years ago.
REALTORS® seek Political Fundraising and Advocacy Coordinator. “The Political Fundraising and Advocacy Coordinator (“REALTOR® Party Coordinator”) is a skilled professional who provides a wide range of supportive services for the Director of Government Affairs in furtherance of the association’s strategic plan, mission, goals, objectives, and related policies when administrating the Government Affairs Department. The ideal candidate has outstanding organizational, time-management, and strong communication skills. Event planning and fundraising experience is critical…” See it here.
Unite STL was formed. It’s a PAC. Its treasurer is Angela Burke.
KC Forward Progress was formed. It’s a PAC. Its treasurer is Maurice Watson.
Elmer Otey formed a candidate committee (Friends of Elmer Otey) to run for St. Louis City Alderman, Ward 18, as a Democrat.
Happy birthdays to Ken Jacob, Kyle Aubuchon, and Jordan Overstreet.