Interim Committee on Local Taxes
Speaker Elijah Haahr formed the Interim Committee on Oversight of Local Taxation to see how “local governments are determining taxes and are impacted by current tax policy.” Rep. J. Eggleston is chairing the committee. See the committee members here.
Haahr quote: “By reviewing the process of determining sales and property taxes, the Committee will provide the General Assembly with the full picture of how our state policies impact local communities. We know Missourians want to be a low tax state and what taxes they do owe, they want to know are calculated justly and correctly. We will protect Missourians in this area from the state level all the way down to our local government levels.”
Insider: “Lots of STL and KC reps are getting complaints about local assessments…”
What It Means
The Republican-dominated General Assembly, after a decade of cutting state taxes, is increasingly turning its gaze to the local governments. In the tug-of-war between conservative banners of “low taxes” and “local control,” taxes seems to be winning.
Sen. Bill Eigel’s fundraiser last night in St. Charles featuring Governor Mike Parson drew a large crowd – about 200 people. “Energy was great and even drew a couple protesters!”
Tipster: Several aspiring Senate candidates attended (Robert Ross, Eddy Justice, David Cole).
Auditor Nicole Galloway released a “closeout audit” of the Lieutenant Governor’s office from Mike Parson’s time there. See it here. Among the items found…
· The Lieutenant Governor's office did not take adequate measures to minimize the Lieutenant Governor's travel costs. The office paid travel costs for the Lieutenant Governor to attend entertainment events that did not appear necessary to office operations or a reasonable use of state funds. The office often did not follow office policy or state travel regulations when making travel decisions and submitting mileage reimbursements. The office did not retain a complete, accessible calendar of the Lieutenant Governor's activities.
· The Lieutenant Governor's office did not prepare documentation justifying the purchase of two vehicles, and the need for these vehicles is questionable because they were infrequently used. Office personnel did not maintain complete vehicle usage logs.
The Bigger Picture
One observer says the big picture is this: [Parson’s] biggest problem is one many people in the business suffer from. The higher up you get, the more you need someone around you that is willing to tell you “No.” Parson had no one in that office that would tell him he was being stupid and therefore he did [stupid stuff like buying the car], the valet parking, the office remodel...
Senate 19 Talk
Following up on my bit yesterday about Dems being without a credible candidate so far to take on Floor Leader Caleb Rowden, a few folks mentioned that Michela Skelton might ultimately be tapped. She lost a close special election in 2017 for House 50 and lost a not so-close bid for that seat again in 2018.
Follow-Up on FBI and MMJ: Not Normal
One reader chastens me that I missed this critical portion of the Hancock story on the FeeBees poking around Jeff City… “This isn't normal.”
Calls to several nearby states that have legalized medical marijuana found no evidence of similar FBI visits. “We’re not aware of any cannabis-focused requests like you mentioned,” said Scott Smith of the Minnesota Department of Health.
Through a spokesman, Doralee Chandler, director of the Arkansas department that oversees that state’s medical marijuana dispensary and cultivation permits, “reported no meetings have taken place such as those described.”
Juden Attacks Audit Draft
KFVS aired a report about draft audits concerning questionable practices at the Department of Public Safety under Drew Juden’s leadership. Eric Greitens pops up! He sounds exactly as how you remember him (the usual clichés: “when things get tough,” “24/7”) with one exception: no mention of being a Navy SEAL in this clip. See it here.
PR guru Scott Charton tweets his impresssion: When a draft state audit of the agency you ran is so scathing that you see no downside to relying on Eric #Greitens as a character witness. The final audit must be scorching.
Stevens: Trump’s LT Impact on GOP
In 2016, presidential candidate Donald Trump called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” It was a clear violation of the Constitution’s Article VI protections against religious tests, but the Republican Party did nothing…
Now, in the 2020 campaign season, President Trump has embraced open racism like no president since Andrew Johnson. In the heart of the old Confederacy, Trump stood before a rally of North Carolinians on Wednesday and denounced four women of color in Congress, inspiring a “send them back” chant that delighted the crowd. (He disavowed the chant on Thursday.)…
Southerners like me know the game Trump is playing… What’s next for the RNC? Hang a Confederate battle flag in front of the national headquarters? It is difficult to express how much this hurts my heart… watching the Republican Party embrace an open racist is like seeing an old friend drink himself to death. Lord knows we weren’t perfect, but at least we aspired to be something bigger and better than Trump’s bitter ugliness.
It’s a disgrace and a political disaster. In 1956, Dwight Eisenhower won 39 percent of the African American vote. Eight years later, Barry Goldwater opposed the Civil Rights Act and that figure plummeted to 7 percent; African American voters have never returned to the party. While every year the United States becomes less white, the Republican Party has abandoned any pretense of being the Big Tent Party. Perhaps Trump can win with this message in 2020, but this embrace of racism by a major American political party will rightly hang over the GOP in a shroud of shame. African American voters did not forget 1964, and there is little chance that nonwhite voters will forget 2020….
Overturning Roe Wouldn’t Change MO Much
New York Times estimates that if Roe v Wade was overturned, Missouri’s abortion rates probably wouldn’t decrease much. See it here.
“Roe upholds abortion in very different ways around the country. Without it, the fallout would be highly uneven… Today, there is at least one abortion clinic in every state, and most women of childbearing age live within an hour’s drive or so of one, the new analysis found. In more than half of states, including the entire West Coast and Northeast, that would still be true without Roe. In other states, like Missouri and Mississippi, with one clinic each, some women are effectively already living without Roe’s protections, because the driving distance to the nearest clinic is prohibitively long…”
STL: Mixed Middle
Axios has been writing about the future of cities driving the inequality in the country. Cities are attracting talent and creating wealth. But not all cities. In their latest installment, St. Louis is labeled as one in the “mixed middle.” See it here.
The "mixed middle" is home to about a quarter of the U.S. population and these cities' economic fates could go either way depending on how proactive their strategies are. Stable cities: Places like Columbus, Cincinnati and St. Louis have steady economies but low net migration rates.
eMailbag on Health Task Force
The Governor's health insurance commission is a good idea, but it shouldn't take much effort to find a solution that addresses each of its goals: Medicaid expansion.
Edwin Lewis formed a candidate committee (Friends For Ed Lewis) to run for House 6 as a Republican. The current incumbent, Rep. Tim Remole, is termed.
American Property Casualty Insurance Association Political Account - $5,805 from American Property Casualty Insurance Association Political Account.
Teamsters Local 600 Drive PAC - $5,058 from International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Happy birthdays to Rep. Rusty Black, John Griesheimer, David Overfelt, Jim Anderson, and Ashley Varner.
Saturday: Brad Lager, and Dick Fleming.
Sunday: Sally Faith, and Christian Morgan.
To the Bardgett family “on the passing of Mary Jeanne Bardgett this week as a result of complications from a stroke suffered on May 17. Jeanne was the wife of the late Missouri Supreme Court Justice John “Jack” Bardgett who passed away in 2008. She is the mother of John Bardgett, Jr. and the grandmother of Jacque Bardgett. Jeanne Bardgett served as staffer for Missouri Senator Harriett Woods and Senator Mike Lybyer in the 80’s and 90’s after her children were all in college.”