Driving Last Night
The Senate had another long night. Finding a compromise on Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer’s SB 224 around 2:30 in the morning. Feels like we’ll be having regular late nights for the remainder of session.
From Post-Dispatch: General Motors officials are expected to meet with Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Thursday to discuss a $1 billion expansion project at the company’s Wentzville assembly plant. Although details of the expansion were not immediately available, GM is expected to request a package of incentives from the state to help pay for job training and retooling at the light truck and van manufacturing facility, situated about 40 miles from St. Louis in St. Charles County.
Parson met with the Republican Senate Caucus yesterday.
What It Means
With a little more than two weeks left, it’s possible to act this and put an incentive package into an existing legislative vehicle. But the better bet is that this is special session material, maybe concurrent with veto session, after a package has been hammered out.
2 Theories on Stengergate
More folks wanted to talk about the Steve Stenger indictment yesterday. And the biggest question is: what’s next? There are two directions it could go. The Feds could be working “up the ladder” or “down the ladder.”
Moving up the ladder would mean that they’re going after an even “bigger fish” than Stenger. Moving down the ladder would mean that they’re going after smaller, lesser known, players.
The argument that we’ll see them move up the ladder: That’s how the Feds usually do it. Find someone doing something wrong, squeeze information out of them about someone higher up the food-chain.
The argument that they’re going to do a more of a mop-up smaller fish: They wouldn’t have tipped their hand by going public with the indictment if there was a bigger catch out there.
Fitz Jabs LIHTC
Columbia Missourian reports (see it here) that State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick called from reforms to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program instead of simply a cut in the program.
After multiple housing representatives spoke in favor of the bill and nobody stepped in to testify against it, Fitzpatrick came before the General Laws committee. However, the state treasurer, who automatically serves as a member on the MHDC, made his views known. “For myself as a commissioner on MHDC, to be able to support restarting the program, more has to be done to bring the value of the credits up, to make it so that we’re getting more than about half the money we’re issuing out the door in credits back in housing,” Fitzpatrick said.
The testimony was “for informational purposes,” yet was very negative on the bill and stunned supporters.
· “Veterans of this debate were shocked at the arrogance of Fitzpatrick riding in and lobbing bombs, citing state audits as ‘my research,’ and trying to kill the [31-0 Senate] compromise.”
· “He has never attended an MHDC meeting as a commissioner and yet he's talking as a commissioner and giving the finger to the governor who appointed him. Parson is on record saying Senate compromise on SB28 is positive.”
· LIHTC supporters called Fitzpatrick’s analysis “flawed” because it relies on numbers from the REMI economic modeling program. They commissioned a critique of the REMI model that has been used in previous audits. See it here.
But in the building one lobbyist shrugged…
· This isn’t a new position from Fitz; Governor Mike Parson knew how he felt about LIHTC when he appointed him.
· Folks imagine Eric Greitens will write a book someday to rewrite history of his tenure. They think Greitens will blame LIHTC for his downfall. Fitz is making sure there’s some distance between him and the quick revival of the program.
One House-side source notes…
· Speaker Elijah Haahr referred this Senate bill to the General Law Committee where it could enjoy some speedy action as opposed to the Economic Development Committee where the similar House bill was heard.
· Republican leadership is not 100% aligned on the issue. Parson and Haahr appears supportive while Fitzpatrick and Floor Leader Rob Vescovo are skeptical.
And another lobbyist adds…
· Stop imagining LIHTC supporters as a monolith. There’s a variety of opinions. Some would be OK with the reforms; others are OK with the cut to keep the program as it is.
Emery Contra Porn
Yesterday’s Senate Commerce Committee was packed a hearing of Rep. Jim Hansen’s eminent domain bill. While testimony was basically a rehash of the House hearing, the guess from the hallway was that the Senate side will be a bit more cautious toward the bill than the House.
But the next bill – after the crowd exited – was Sen. Ed Emery’s SB 382. It would put a giant filter on Missouri’s internet to block obscene websites.
Emery has long been fearful of porn’s impact, writing last year about it in relation to Eric Greitens’ scandal. But it’s still odd to see the normally “freedom fighting” senator propose a China-like state control of the internet.
Follow-Up on Page Seat
One MOScouter says that Heather Silverman is also a potential candidate for Sam Page’s vacated St. Louis County Council seat. Silverman is a councilwoman in St. Louis’ Creve Coeur municipality.
· Speaker Elijah Haahr appointed Rep. Jeffrey Messenger to the Joint Committee on Public Assistance.
· Through the droning the filibuster last night, one funny back-and-forth involved Sen. Lauren Arthur describing the “Curse of Russell.” Every time her husband comes to Jefferson City to visit, the Senate has a working night extend into the early morning.
eMailbag on House 99
From a Republican: If Dems had chosen a moderate, they’d have a shot at the seat. But they didn’t. And they don’t have any money.
Bill Owen formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Owen) to run for House 131 as a Republican. The current incumbent, Rep. Sonya Anderson, is termed.
Missourians for Effective Leadership PAC - $25,000 from Burns & McDonnell Inc.
MO Opportunity PAC - $10,000 from Thompson Coburn LLP.
KC Leadership Fund - $10,000 from Northwest Missouri Leasing.
Jeffrey Brooks added TransparentBusiness Corporation.
Michael Grote added Missouri Association of Municipal Utilities.
Harry Hill deleted John Hayes.
Christopher Gordon Moreland added Missouri Office of Administration.
Happy birthdays to Scott Dieckhaus, Jac Cardetti, and David Smith.