Gloria… HB 677
On the heels of the Blues amazing run from last place to Stanley Cup Champions, I thought it might be worth looking at HB 677. It provided state funds for tourist facilities in St. Louis and Kansas City. In other words, money for stadiums. That’s not a very popular concept, so what were the keys to pass it?
· This was actually the fourth year that the bill was circulated in the capitol. Four years ago Andy Blunt’s team was lead lobbyist. But this year it was Nexus Group (for the Blues), Catalyst (for Jackson County Sports Complex Authority) with Flotron McIntosh coming in with an assist (Blues). Although with term limits there a constant churn to educate legislators, there’s also progress made each year. The bill was ripe this year.
· Jean Evans was the original House sponsor of the bill to fund Enterprise Center upgrades. But when she resigned, the decision was made to add the provisions onto Rep. Jon Patterson’s bill for Arrowhead upgrades. Patterson readily accepted the addition, and did a bang-up job. The merging of bills broadened the coalition for both funding streams to include delegations from the state’s two biggest urban areas.
· Sen. Dave Schatz had handled the Enterprise Center bill in previous years. So there was support for the bill in Senate leadership. Similarly, Speaker Elijah Haahr was OK with the it on the House side. The biggest problem for supporters was overcoming conservative objections about “corporate welfare.”
Overcoming Conservative Objections
Supporters did three things to allay a conservative revolt in the House and a conservative filibuster in the Senate. They advanced a message about the benefits to the state; they made concessions and accepted compromises; and they worked relationships.
· The facilities are net generators of tax revenue to the state. And the stadiums are publicly owned. This was an investment in those assets.
· The sports teams were not engaged economic hostage negotiation. There were no threats of leaving. It was good faith petitioning of their needs.
· And it was about more than the sports teams. This would protect the ability to land concerts, trade shows, rodeos, collegiate tournaments, Olympic trials.
The supporters made several compromises. They might not have turned No votes to Yes, but it may have prevented some senators from standing up on the bill.
· In previous years the bill had sought $6 million over 30 years. This was pared back to $2.5 million for 10 years, followed by $4.5 million for a second ten years.
· The state’s payments were delayed until 2022. That was helpful for legislators because that’s when payments for The Dome were expiring.
· They added a claw-back agreement in case a professional team left. “[I]f the owners of such franchise relocate the franchise to another state during the period of the agreement… such owners shall repay to the general revenue fund the amount of funds expended by the state pursuant to such agreement.”
· Sen. Mike Cierpiot was the handler in the Senate. He famously feuded with the Conservative Caucus during session for their inconsistent application of conservative ideals. But he also worked to repair the relationship, and that helped ease the bill’s progress.
· David Steward is a part owner of the Blues, and has ties to the Conservative Caucus.
· Flotron McIntosh’s David McCracken worked on finding language that would soothe Sen. Paul Wieland’s misgivings.
Winning helps. It creates goodwill in the building. The Blues started their comeback run near the start of session, and were in the playoffs and looking sharp as session wound down. The Chiefs have had a string of good seasons as well.
For politicos gazing into their 2020 crystal balls, the key quote from Jason Kander’s interview with Lester Holt: “For Kander politics remains on hold.”
Spencer in Wright City
Rep. Bryan Spencer texted to correct my blurb yesterday about his announcement… “I live in Wright City. It's in Dist 10… 7 counties attended the announcement dinner. I'll be ready for any lines they draw…. PS, I'm counting on being underestimated. I work extremely hard on a focused goal.”
Big Ag Win for KC
Washington Post reports on a big win for Kansas City. See it here. “Two scientific agencies in the Department of Agriculture will move from Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City region, USDA announced Thursday, despite strong resistance to the plan. Employees at the Economic Research Service, a statistical agency, and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which funds cutting-edge agricultural science, are expected to report there for duty before the year’s end. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue unveiled a plan to relocate the agencies, without specifying a destination, in August 2018. Perdue describes the decision as a cost-saving measure and has said it would bring them closer to their ‘stakeholders’ in farming regions. Nearly 140 communities applied to host the agencies… NIFA unionized earlier this week, and ERS unionized in May in the face of the decision and union officials have promised to fight the move…”
Behind the News
One politico nudges… “It helps that [Senators] Roy Blunt and Jerry Moran both serve on the Ag Approps [and] Pat Roberts chair of full Agriculture Committee.”
BTG Switches EDs
Post-Dispatch reports that Nancy Rice has exited Better Together, the latest ill-fated effort to spark restructuring of St. Louis’ convoluted government. See it here. The organization's board picked Dave Leipholtz, former director of community based studies, at its board meeting last week as the new executive director. Leipholtz led the research into the region's government services. "Dave is the right person to lead Better Together through its next phase of work," board chairman Joe Adorjan said in a statement…
O’Laughlin on “Help”
Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin on Facebook recounts her skepticism of government programs prompting the comment from Republican consultant Aaron Baker, “Special interests should be more careful on what meetings they invite you to.”
From O’Laughlin’s post: I started my day in Hannibal at a Housing Task Force meeting. Represented were HUD, USDA and NECAC. Each spoke about their programs for housing rehab, repair and even home buying… HUD would like to expand LIHTC which are Low Income Housing Tax Credits. Without some revisions I would not favor that… Self help housing was discussed and it brought to mind some that we have had in Shelbina. They were nice well built homes but the occupants basically trashed them and some were sold at auction to the general public. I would like to see responsibility measures implemented in all of these and I don't feel they exist at this time. These are good people trying to "help" others but we need some changes to insure people are responsible. Too many times we "give" someone something and they do not respect the work and tax money paid by someone else so they could have the item….
Vernon Betts formed a candidate committee (Citizens For Vernon Betts) to run for re-election as St. Louis City Sheriff, as a Democrat.
Jeffco Vision PAC was formed. It’s a PAC to support Rep. Dan Shaul. Its treasurer is Sean Casey.
MO Leadership Committee - $9,000 from Tom Burcham III.
American Property Casualty Insurance Association Political Account - $18,889 from American Property Casualty Insurance Association.
Mike Gibbons and Tricia Workman added SLCC LLC.
David Sweeney added ICSolutions.
Happy birthdays to Rep. Dirk Deaton.
Saturday: Martin Rucker.
Sunday: Congressman Jason Smith, Sen. Bill White, and Rep. Bob Burns.