MOScout Daily Update: MeToo Training for Lobbyists - STL Better Together Day - Kendrick on Revenue Shortfall and more...

MeToo Training for Lobbyists

Rep. Gina Mitten’s recently filed HB 691 would require lobbyists and legislative liaisons to complete a sexual harassment training within ninety days of registering. See it here.

 

Now Comes St. Louis Consolidation

This morning a years-long effort called Better Together will unveil their blueprint recommendations to reconfigure the St. Louis region’s governance structure. 

Leaks over the past few weeks have opponents of the consolidation plan already swinging punches.  (Sen. Jamilah Nasheed filed a constitutional amendment to derail the plan).

The big picture: merge St. Louis City and St. Louis County while stripping most authority away from the scores of small municipalities in the County.  Aside from the policy benefits like rationalizing operations, creating taxpayer cost-savings, and bringing sanity back to TIF policy, there’s a big psychological sell: it would be a big boost for St. Louis on the national scene creating apples to apples comparisons with other metropolitan areas.  (In other words, drop thirty or forty places immediately on “Most Dangerous Places to Live lists etc).

 

Driving the Day

House Democrats will hold a news conference on at 1:30PM today to discuss their members’ higher education bills.  This is a follow-on to last week’s presser about elementary and secondary education.  Looks like we may be getting a theme of the week from Dems this session…

 

Kendrick on Budget Situation

Rep. Kip Kendrick offers his thoughts on the revenue shortfall. He’s concerned that that there may be more at play than just the withholding error. See it here.

If the only factors at play were a formerly unknown calculating error and underwithholding, it would be much easier to believe that we will hit the revised revenue goal. However, the error does not exist in a vacuum…   That legislation is part of a slew of recent federal and state taxes having shifted to benefit the wealthiest. What concerns me is whether this withholding error is the first of many revenue surprises caused by the multiple and shifting tax burdens—and that no one seems to have a firm grasp on how this is currently or will continue to impact state revenue.

During budget planning, Missouri leaders estimated the federal cut, benefitting the wealthiest taxpayers, would cost Missouri about $60 million. It is feasible this impact was underestimated. Of course, the 2017 federal tax cut was preceded by a massive 2014 Missouri tax cut (SB 509)… the Republican-controlled General Assembly passed yet another tax cut (HB 2540) during the 2018 session. The fiscal note analysis on this legislation is very scant and almost certainly incorrect. We are left with a significant number of changes to our tax structure in a relatively short period of time, and little accurate analysis of their likely collective effect on state revenue.

So what if yet another byproduct of all these changes to our tax code is that the payments due from the middle class are counterbalanced with major refunds to the richest Missourians? What if another unintended or unknown consequence of the interaction between the recent tax cuts and the error in the withholding tables is that wealthy taxpayers are overpaying the state?...

To be clear: I am not predicting this will be the case, but it is a logical and necessary question to ask with many moving parts and new tax laws at multiple levels. It is possible that the surprise tax bills will balance Missouri’s FY19 budget. However, I am becoming more convinced that tax cut after tax cut after tax cut will leave Missouri’s budget reeling in the not too distant future no matter how this year ends….

And

Email from a Republican on House Budget… “[I]t was obvious to me that the Director had not been sufficiently prepared to answer the reasonably foreseeable questions put to him and he was going nowhere fast. From the standpoint of questioning witnesses who do not have a bloody clue, there are times when less is more and in his case, this was one of those times…”

 

Republicans: Rowden Not So Vulnerable

A couple Republicans disagree with the Hallway thinking that Sen. Caleb Rowden’s District 19 seat is likely to flip to the Dems…

·         Ds have to play defense in two highly competitive seats (SD1 & SD17). I would also argue they will have to play some defense in SD11 (Rizzo almost lost to Brent Lasater who spent basically nothing). In a year with all the statewides on the ballot do we really think they are going to invest heavily in that many seats?

·         In 2016, no one expected Caleb Rowden to win and he did against the one of the strongest, most well funded Dem Senate candidates in Missouri history.  The win was in one of only 10 counties in the country to vote at a higher percentage for Hillary Clinton than Barrack Obama. It was far and away the most expensive senate race in Missouri history and now as Senate Majority Leader Rowden’s campaign will not be without resources. In 2018, when this “big blue wave” was supposed to crash upon Missouri, no SD19 GOP State Representative even came close to losing….

Bits

St. Louis Superman, a documentary about Rep. Bruce FranksSee the trailer here.

 

Sen. Jeanie Riddle has tapped Lindsey Alexander as her new chief of staff.  Alexander replaces Zach Monroe who is now walking the halls for Ameren.  Alexander was previously Director of Government Affairs and Policy for the Secretary of State.

 

As expected the Missouri Republican Party named Kay Hoflander as the new party chair.  Political operative Gregg Keller was named the head of the Missouri Victory Committee which will be the party’s vehicle to defend their five state-wide incumbents in 2020.

 

Frappier Passes

Jo Frappier passed away January 23 in Tampa, Florida.  Frappier was a member of the House from St. Louis County and later Senator from St. Charles.  Governor Kit Bond appointed him as director of the Department of Consumer Affairs, Regulation and Licensing in 1981.  Frappier led the effort for passage of a constitutional amendment in 1984 transforming CARL into the Department of Economic Development.  He later served as legislative liaison for Governor John Ashcroft and then as president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.

 

Help Wanted

Regional Business Council seeks Coordinator of Talent Initiatives.  “The Program Coordinator will execute detailed-oriented responsibilities requiring accuracy, focus, and a high degree of attention to customer service.  Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential to successful project completion and engagement with both internal and external audiences. The RBC values a level of customer service that is both highly responsive and demonstrates a sophisticated knowledge of the business and higher education community and the St. Louis region.  The ideal candidate is quick thinking and action oriented, collaborative and desires to contribute, learn, and grow. A high degree of technical aptitude is also necessary for success in the position…”    See it here.

 

New Committees

ConversationsMO was formed.  It’s a PAC.   Its treasurer is Jennifer Lohman.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Uniting Missouri PAC - $50,000 from IAFF FirePAC Vic Missouri.

MO Republican Party - $15,000 from Friends of Robert Cornejo.

MO Republican Party - $10,000 from Friends of Caleb Jones.

MO Republican Party - $25,000 from Friends of Diehl.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Van Kelly.