Roeber in Crash
Frightening news as word travels that Rep. Rebecca Roeber was involved in an automobile crash and taken to the hospital yesterday. See the crash report here.
The report says that Roeber’s injuries were “serious,” and it categorizes the other driver’s injuries as “minor.” According to the report, the accident took place on US 50 when Roeber’s vehicle “crossed the center line and struck [the other] vehicle.”
This morning Joe McLean reports that she is “still in critical condition as of 5:55 a.m.”
Roeber has been a leading champion for charter expansion. Her absence during recovery will be probably keep that bill from moving forward.
The Big Picture on the Budget
The week the House will debate and pass the budget bills. The process then moves to the Senate. But stepping back, the larger budget picture is sobering. Here’s food for thought.
· One veteran in the building – who has seen more budgets than any legislator (or governor) has in this era of term-limits – doesn’t like the way the numbers look and thinks that it’s unlikely we will match last year’s revenues – much less hit the consensus revenue number. As of the close of business, last Friday (March 22), state revenues were still $339 million behind last year’s numbers.
· The next big data point to watch will be the April end-of-month numbers. By that time all the April 15 revenues will be in – including folks who are running late with their taxes. If we’re underwater at that point, it’s not about withholding changes. Rather it’s the result of the legislature’s various tax cuts and the impact of the change in the federal tax code. The big picture here: if tax receipts end up negative with an economy growing at 3% (should be seeing sales tax growth), unemployment at 3% (should be seeing individual income tax growth), and the stock market near highs (capital gains portion of individual income tax should be solid), what will happen when we have a recession, or even a slow-down/soft-landing scenario of 1% or 1.5% growth?
It’s worth re-reading Auditor Nicole Galloway’s 2017 audit “stress testing” the state budget. See it here. Two big ideas…
· First, the Hancock Amendment means that the voters must approve any significant tax increase. That means: in an economic downturn where revenues fall, the state only has one tool to deal with a shortfall: cut spending.
“The limitations placed on the legislature by the Hancock Amendment do not allow legislators and policymakers the flexibility to reverse cuts to revenue that may exceed expectations. Once laws are passed to reduce revenue, in the form of tax rate reductions, sales tax exemptions, or otherwise, revenues cannot be increased above the Section 18(e) threshold via legislative changes without a public vote. Due to such a strict limitation, legislators and policymakers must ensure the fiscal impacts of proposed legislation is estimated accurately, are not understated, and taxpayers are getting the promised return on investment.”
· Second, although state lawmakers have implemented tax cuts and added sales tax exemptions, Missourians are continuing to tax themselves higher at the local level.
“[S]ales taxes at the local level have shown continued growth over pre-recession levels. While there are many reasons local governments are increasing the use of local sales taxes, a recent audit of Transportation Development Districts24 and the ongoing audit of Community Improvement Districts have shown the increase is, in part, due to an increase in special
taxing districts. Such taxes typically go toward financing development projects rather than the general needs of the public. Increased sales taxes at the local level do not impact state revenues, but represent an additional cost to Missouri families.”
Subpoenamania in STL County
St. Louis Business Journal follows on yesterday’s Post-Dispatch daisy-cutter about subpoenas hitting the Stenger administration. STBJ reports that “The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership on Monday said it also has received subpoenas from federal authorities seeking records… ‘We have received subpoenas seeking records from the Partnership and related entities,’ the partnership said Monday. ‘While we cannot comment on any particular investigation, we are committed to full cooperation with authorities and transparency with the public.’”
What It Means
It’s unclear how this will end. But in terms of the proposal City-County merger, will it hurt proponents because Steve Stenger is associated with this grand jury investigation? Or can this play into their broader message about the need to reform and restructure the region’s governance?
Justice Ante Ups
In the large contributions (below) Eddy Justice sent $60,000 to his campaign committee to run for Senate 25 (Libla termed). This follows Rep. Jeff Shawan putting $100K into his campaign committee. And it shows that Justice is not backing down. Do we end up with a monster primary here? Or does someone blink? Filing opens in about ten months….
Kim Tucci, longtime supporter of Democrats, died yesterday after a battle with cancer. He was a founder of St. Louis’ Pasta House restaurant chain. See the Post-Dispatch obituary here. “In the 1980s, Tucci was a close adviser to then-Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr. and served as a Democratic committeeman. He remained involved with politics until the end of his life… Former St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said he knew Tucci for more than 30 years, and the two men still shared a monthly lunch date.”
· Rep. Jonathan Patterson was appointed to serve on the MO HealthNET Oversight Committee
· Senate Education Chair, Sen. Gary Romine, informs the secretary of the senate: “Due to my recent accident I request that I temporarily be recognized from my chair on the Senate Floor, and that I be allowed to wear sweat pants while my leg is in a brace.”
Friends Of Justice - $60,000 from Eddy Justice.
Missouri Realtors PAC Inc - $10,000 from Missouri REALTORS PAC.
Progress KC - $10,000 from Evergy Inc.
YesCapeSchools - $10,000 from Plaza Tire Service.
Aaron Baker and Hannah Beers added Missouri Physical Therapy Assoc.
Adam Sachs added Workday, and Accenture LLP.
Casey Allen Wasser added Missouri Hemp Producers Association.
Happy birthdays to Ed Smith.