MOScout Daily Update: Meet Prospects for Missouri - The Big Budget Fear - Kurt to Children's Division and more...

Meet Prospects for Missouri

Prospects for Missouri is a new PAC, formed on December 20, and immediately seeded with $400,000 from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City.

I asked around about the new committee and while no one was 100% certain, the various tidbits point to Prospects being a vehicle to advance Medicaid expansion in Missouri.

·         Medicaid expansion fits with the mission of the Health Care Foundation.

·         According to filings with the secretary of state’s office, there’s a Prospects for Missouri non-profit created in early December.  The incorporator of that non-profit is Lowell Pearson. One source tells me that Pearson is working on crafting language for an initiative petition for Medicaid expansion.

·         It’s possible this initial investment would pay for polling and other early expenses for a larger campaign for Medicaid expansion.

 

December Revenues Rise

A 12% rise in the sales tax receipts powered a solid rise in Missouri state tax revenues in December despite flat individual income tax receipts.  Net general revenue collections rose 6.24% in December compared to December 2017.  The fiscal year-to-date tax revenues, though, are still underwater, -2.89% compared to last year.

But

For many budget watchers this year’s numbers are a distraction from the greater long-term concerns about the state’s public priorities and how to fund them. 

·         Despite bipartisan consensus that Missouri’s transportation system needs investment, there’s been repeated failures to motivate voters to approve additional revenues.

·         The phased-in tax cuts during rising revenues have created perpetual tight budgets, but the danger is when a recession comes how do you balance a budget when revenue declines?

·         The answer in the past has been to cut from higher education, one of the largest buckets of discretionary spending.

·         However, the decades-long trend of underfunding transportation and higher education is eroding Missouri’s business environment. 

The Big Fear

By underinvesting in these linchpins of economic growth, Missouri’s “peer group” is becoming less and less states like Iowa, and Indiana and instead becoming more and more the poorer / low investment states – Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana.

The next recession will push Missouri farther down that path.

 

Kurt to Take Over Children’s Division

Word is that David Kurt will be the new Director of the Missouri Children’s Division.  He’s from Kansas.  According to his LinkedIn, Kurt has been at the Kansas Department For Children and Families for the past seventeen years.  His most recent job title was “Interim Director, Child Support Services.”

One MOScouter says “This is big news in child welfare world, and for policy related to kids...” But also notes that former Director Tim Decker had an “interesting” post on Facebook about the leadership change.

That Facebook post: “It has now been six months since I retired as Director of the Missouri Children’s Division. I’ve reflected often about the inspiring young people, parents, staff, and partners that were all part this amazing journey… The inspiring people I met along the way all had something in common. They have ‘hard heads, and soft hearts’. This is the determination to do what’s right, even though it’s hard; while always remembering why it matters. One such person is Julie Lester, who served as Interim Director of the Children’s Division after I retired. Julie has been an outstanding example for so many leaders who will continue her work and ensure her inspiring legacy continues both in the agency and in the lives of so many others… My heart is aching for her and so many others who did not ask for or need another leadership change. These decisions are in the hands of others, as is so often the case in life. While I do not know him, I wish the new director the very best… I’ve prayed often about the situation, and I’m constantly reminded that the best work happens on the front-lines by practitioners, families, and communities who are both the most knowledgeable, and have the most at stake. Leadership change is not a time for a ‘wait and see’ approach… The best approach is to remember what you know and keep doing your best every day….”

 

O’Laughlin Eyes Education

I expect Sen-elect Cindy O’Laughlin to be a force in education debates in the Senate.  Yesterday on Facebook she writes that she’s doing her homework… “I met with a group of Superintendents from our area today in Kirksville. We found many areas of common ground including the need for testing reform, performance standards and rewarding high performers as a means of attracting/keeping talent, the need to strengthen families and their involvement with their students, the challenge of beginning teachers (low pay, no housing options), and goals we can pursue together. Many of the issues are federal mandate related (but not all) and we talked about how we could push for reform. This will be an ongoing discussion and I would appreciate the chance to sit down with each Superintendent in their school to get a first hand look at their situations. Each is a bit different…”

 

Bits

Post-Dispatch reports that Fitz waits on swearing in, giving him the potential to serve ten years as treasurer.  See it here

 

In the large contributions, it looks like some PACs, potentially terminating in the January quarterly reports, are giving leftover funds to American Dream PAC.  It was started in November and Ron Richard is the treasurer for the PAC.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Uniting Missouri PAC - $10,000 from Rick Jr and Carolta Holton.

Uniting Missouri PAC - $20,000 from Hunter Engineering Company.

Uniting Missouri PAC - $10,000 from Missouri Health Plan Association PAC.

Uniting Missouri PAC - $50,000 from Michael and Susan Ketchmark

Civic Progress Action Committee - $7,500 from Ameren Missouri.

American Dream PAC - $25,000 from Health Systems Inc.

American Dream PAC - $11,342 from Missourians for Responsible & Better Government.

American Dream PAC - $12,631 from Missouri Republican Leadership PAC.

American Dream PAC - $16,105 from Six PAC.

Missouri Senate Campaign Committee - $10,000 from QC Holdings Inc.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Matthew Block added Scientific Games.

Sam Wiles added Niemeyer Grebel Kruse, Holland Law, Onder Law, O’Brien Law Firm PC, and Schlichter Bogard & Denton; and deleted Tom Rackers, and John Beal Roofing.

David Barklage deleted Gamble & Schlemeier.

Jim Cross deleted Centerpoint Properties Trust.

Michael Dunaway deleted Missouri Hospital Association, and The Health Alliance of MidAmerica.

Joel Elmer deleted Missouri State Public Defender System.

Kent Lowry deleted PACARS – Prosecuting Attorneys and Circuit Attorneys Retirement System, and Armstrong Teasdale LLP.

Tom Rackers deleted Steven R Carroll.

Ken McClure deleted Missouri State University.

Daniel Hartman deleted Missouri Attorney General’s Office.

Michael Bennett deleted FCA US LLC.

Rebecca Corson deleted Lombardo Homes Of St Louis LLC, and Quiktrip Corporation.

Richard Winders, Brian Prestwood, and Ali Baumhoer deleted Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

Jeannie Martin Dudenhoeffer deleted Missouri National Education Association.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Rep. DaRon McGee, and former Sen. Dan Clemens.