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07 October 2011

Neth: Autumn In Full Swing, Visit To Kellybrook, Ford Announcement

We finished up another day of Special Session in Jefferson City on Thursday. The House debated and passed a comprehensive economic development bill that will now be sent back to the Senate (it originated in the Senate). We made several changes to the original bill sent to us by the Senate, but in my opinion kept the spirit and intent of it. As in all legislation there has to be compromise in both bodies in order for something to get done and I feel the House has done its part in this process. From here the bill goes back to the Senate. They can either pass the bill as is, in the House form, or if they do not, then it can go to a conference committee to hash out the differences and we come back for one more vote. Another option is that it just dies and in all likelihood the session in over.

I am not a fan of being back in session for many reasons, but primarily that it takes me out of district and away from my family. Of course there is an additional cost to having Special Session, but the amount is relatively small due to the fact that the members are only reimbursed for the time they are in Jefferson City. Given the fact that only members of the committees that hear a bill need to be in Jeff and then the whole body only a few days out of that, the fiscal impact is not what might be expected. I know some would think that any additional expense is not appropriate and I respect that view, but I just want people to know that it is not a huge expense. This is especially in light of the fact if we do what we should, the net impact of the legislation we might pass would greatly outweigh any cost of the Special Session. As an example see the article below about the recent announcement at the Ford plant.

An interesting dynamic going on in the Legislature right now is that there is less argument between the Majority and Minority parties than there is between the House and the Senate. It certainly is creating an interesting situation and one that is still yet to play out entirely. At some point I might put a few of my own thoughts on this out, but I will save that for another day.

I love autumn and it is in full swing. There are some beautiful trees showing up in the area and it is a joy to drive down the streets. Take time to enjoy the great weather by getting out- take a walk, go to a sporting event or just sit outside.


Kellybrook 3rd Grade Visit and Visit to Triality

At right: Kellybrook 3rd Grade class on Oct. 5, 2011

I had a great time visiting the 3rd grade classroom of Kara Stanley at Kellybrook Elementary in Liberty. We talked about how important books and reading are and then read a book together. They asked some great questions and I really enjoyed the visit.

I also visited Triality in Liberty which is a great organization that empowers adults and children with disabilities to lead fulfilled lives. The visit included meeting some of the people in the program who are gaining meaningful employment in the area and discussing how we can better serve these people and the community by connecting them to do so.

Ford makes expansion announcement

Ford made a huge announcement that they will be investing $1.1 billion in the Claycomo plant and adding an additional 1600 jobs. This is a direct result of last years Special Session where the legislature approved tax incentives for auto manufacturers in Missouri. I am thrilled by the announcement. This is exactly how we spur the economy through economic development. More than likely we will have a net positive increase in existing jobs and the subsequent addition to the tax base. There will be numerous ancillary product and service providers that will expand and hire people as well. We are fortunate to have Ford in our area along with all the great people that work there and live in the area.

Economic Development Bill

As I mentioned above, the House passed an economic development and job creation bill [SB8] this week. As of this writing the final House version of the bill is not available, but you can check this link for the version that came out of committee to the House floor and back at this link in the future to get the amended version.

For those of you (which there were a lot) who were concerned with the so called "China Hub/Aerotropolis" part of the bill, it was drastically reduced to only include the freight forwarding part of the bill which would be capped at $70 million, as opposed to the original price tag of $360 million. Although some might still argue with any type of subsidy towards this project, I am of the opinion that the reduced amount agreed to was a good thing for the overall bill.

Historic and Low Income credit caps were lowered (a good thing) and the sunsets were rejected. Although I usually support sunsets on these types of things, in this case, with the Senate the way it functions currently, to put a sunset on anything (whether it be good or bad) is a risky proposition. As one Senator can hold up something good even though a majority of the House and the Senate might approve of it. Therefore, we opted for a provision to require an up or down vote on the tax credits in four years, with an additional piece of legislation to follow to put a Constitutional measure on the ballot that would make it a requirement for the legislature to do the same. This is due to the fact that by law, the current legislature is not allowed to bind a future legislature in statute, thus the Constitutional measure would override that.

It is a perfect bill- no. However, I think we did some great things in many of the provisions to improve the business and job climate in Missouri. My hope is that the Senate will agree.

Liberty Community Christmas Tree

The Liberty Community Christmas Tree program helps families in Liberty who need assistance during the holiday season. The program provides families with gifts and food items for Christmas dinner.

If you would like to donate food or money; if you need help or you know someone who does, check out this link to find out more information.

Upcoming Local Events

Liberty Public Schools Events (Click link for more info.)
LHS Orchestra Pancake Breakfast and Basket Auction, Down Syndrome Walk, Trike-a-Thon, LNHS Charity Volleyball match, LNHS Orchestra 1st Gold and Bluegrass Festival

William Jewell College Homecoming October 7-9

Liberty Farmers Market Every Saturday through October

Liberty Symphony Orchestra- October 22
Tribute to composer John Williams

Check out your local High School sports schedules. Great Friday night football and other sports.
Liberty Public Schools, North Kansas City Schools

Korman: 12 Amendments To Eco Devo Bill

We had an eventful week at the Capitol in Special Session. After many revisions to SB 8 and 12 different amendments, the House passed SB 8 (Modifies provisions of Missouri tax credit programs in accordance with recommendations made by the Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission Report) and sent it back to the Senate. This bill is quite different from the original bill filed and the Senate’s passed bill. I know many people have been concerned and confused about tax credits for the China Hub. I can say there I aren’t tax credits for warehouses for a China Hub in this Bill. There are some great tax credit caps, reforms, and accountability with claw backs. As well as a corporate income tax reduction from 6 ¼% to 5.5%. The bill will most likely have some more changes with the Senate before it will be sent to the Governor. I hope they are all good changes for the better.

I enjoyed the Warren County Senior Expo on Wednesday, October 5, 2011. Thanks to all those that stopped by the booth.

The open-enrollment period for Medicare Part D, the federal prescription-drug program, is from October 15 to November 7. I want to let all seniors in Montgomery and Warren Counties know that I am hosting a free Medicare Part D enrollment event on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 from 10 a.m. till 1 p.m. at the Warren County Scenic Regional Library, 912 South Highway 4 in Warrenton. Medicare patients should review their insurance options annually. Please call toll-free 1-800-390-3330 to reserve a time slot for expert and personal assistance.

Please feel free to stop by or contact your 99th District office at:
201 W Capitol Ave., Office 114C, Jefferson City, MO 65101 573-751-2689

Allen: Special Session Update

This week the House approved to the House Committee Substitute (HCS) for Senate Bill 8. SB 8 is a major economic development plan designed to create and provide Missourians with good-paying jobs. The package includes the following:
  1. Provisions to spur economic development and bring new jobs to Missouri.
  2. Incentives for computer data centers.
  3. Incentives for amateur and collegiate sporting events.
  4. Major tax credit program reforms.
  5. Substantial reductions for tax credit programs.
  6. Tax payer protections including tying economic incentives to performance.
  7. Lower current corporate income tax rate from 6.25% to 5.5% to allow for more growth and creation of new jobs.
  8. A state sales tax holiday from July 1-7 on products made in America.
Many citizens within the 92nd contacted me with concerns regarding the “Aerotropolis tax credit” or “China-Hub.” These concerns have been addressed in the HCS. The bill provides an incentive package for Missouri businesses that handle international exports. This will encourage the export of Missouri made goods and agricultural products worldwide, not just China.

SB 8 will now be sent to the Senate for their consideration.

Denison: House Approved Missouri Exports Bill, Medicare Part D Meetings

“Our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” –Oliver Goldsmith

In The Capitol

Since September 6th, the Missouri General Assembly has been in special session with the goal of passing a major jobs bill. With nearly 9 percent of Missourians unemployed, we remain committed to the number one issue for Missourians - jobs. Today, the Missouri House took a major step in moving forward a comprehensive jobs bill that will give Missouri’s economy the boost it needs to get back on track.

After hours of debate on the House floor yesterday, the bill received an overwhelming bipartisan vote. The bill includes innovative tax incentives, reforms to existing programs, and an across the board tax cut for Missouri job creators.

The bill includes many new incentive programs that will help Missouri’s economy compete in the 21st century. The new incentives will help attract amateur sporting events to the state, encourage the creation of data storage centers, and create the Missouri Export Act, which creates incentives for exporting Missouri products. In addition to these new incentives, the bill provides funding for job training and creates a fund to both retain companies that are considering leaving our state and attract businesses that are looking for a new location.

The bill also will make dramatic changes that will create hundreds of millions in savings and ensure taxpayer protections for many incentive programs. We lowered caps on two of Missouri’s largest programs and eliminated many underutilized and ineffective programs. With the savings created through these reforms, we passed an across the board tax cut for Missouri businesses.

We believe with this across the board tax cut, along with these tax incentives for high-tech jobs, Missouri’s economy will have the tools necessary to overcome the ongoing recession. The bill now goes to the Senate where we are hopeful that Senators will move swiftly to get this bill to the governor’s desk.

In the District

Medicare Part D Enrollment Meetings

A few weeks ago I mentioned this information, and I am providing it again with updated information. CLAIM has been designated by the State of Missouri to assist seniors with Medicare Part D, which is a federal program for prescription drug coverage. Representatives from the CLAIM organization will be available to assist Medicare eligible citizens to enroll in a prescription plan for 2012. Meetings will be held on Thursday, November 17, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., and Friday, November 18, 2011 from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Library Center, Conference Rooms A, B, and C, 4653 South Campbell Avenue, Springfield. Walk-ins are welcome, but in order to reduce waiting time, appointments may be scheduled by calling CLAIM at 1-800-390-3330. Please bring your Medicare card and a list of your prescription medication to the meeting.

If you are unable to attend but have questions about prescription drug coverage, you may contact CLAIM for assistance at 1-800-390-3330, and a counselor will assist you with selecting a plan.

The Medicare Part D enrollment period for the 2012 plans is October 15, 2011 - December 7, 2011. Seniors may switch plans without penalty until December 7, 2011.

If this information does not apply to you, but you have family members this does apply to, please pass this important information on to them.

Interim Office Hours

Interim office hours are Tuesday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Normal schedule will resume December 1, 2011. If you need to call me at home, my number is 417-887-3353.

I look forward to hearing from you. If you ever have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Best wishes.

Tilley: EcoDevo Measure Boost Missouri's Economy

Since September 6, the Missouri General Assembly has been in special session with the goal of passing a major jobs bill. With nearly 9 percent of Missourians unemployed, we remain committed to the number one issue for Missourians - jobs. Today, the Missouri House took a major step in moving forward a comprehensive jobs bill that will give Missouri’s economy the boost it needs to get back on track.

After hours of debate on the House floor today, the bill [SB8] received an overwhelming bipartisan vote. The bill includes innovative tax incentives, reforms to existing programs, and an across the board tax cut for Missouri job creators.

The bill includes many new incentive programs that will help Missouri’s economy compete in the 21st century. The new incentives will help attract amateur sporting events to the state, encourage the creation of data storage centers, and create the Missouri Export Act, which creates incentives for exporting Missouri products. In addition to these new incentives, the bill provides funding for job training and creates a fund to both retain companies that are considering leaving our state and attract businesses that are looking for a new location.

The bill also will make dramatic changes that will create hundreds of millions in savings and ensure taxpayer protections for many incentive programs. We lowered caps on two of Missouri’s largest programs and eliminated many underutilized and ineffective programs. With the savings created through these reforms, we passed an across the board tax cut for Missouri businesses.

We believe with this across the board tax cut, along with these tax incentives for high-tech jobs, Missouri’s economy will have the tools necessary to overcome the ongoing recession. The bill now goes to the Senate where we are hopeful that Senators will move swiftly to get this bill to the governor’s desk.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve here in the House of Representatives. As always, I welcome your comments. You may reach me at 573-751-1488, send your e-mails to steven{dot}tilley{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov or write to me at the Missouri House of Representatives, State Capitol, Room 308, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

Rupp: Learning from the Mamtek Deal

During the 2011 regular session and in our current special session, economic development has been and continues to be high on the priority list. We are always looking for ways to attract business to our state, while keeping the Missouri tax dollar safe. As you may have heard, a failed economic development project was brought to our attention, and lawmakers are investigating what went wrong with the project.

The company in question, Mamtek U.S. Inc., an artificial sweetener company, had plans to build a factory in Moberly, creating up to 600 jobs for Missourians. To encourage the company to invest in our state, the city of Moberly put together a financial package of incentives, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development offered Mamtek more than $17 million in incentives for job creation. In an unfortunate turn of events, the company missed its first bond payment to Moberly and the factory remains incomplete. The only positive note is that the economic development tools that the state of Missouri uses are focused on job creation, not just the promise of new jobs. Mamtek did not receive any money — the $17 million was an incentive for employment opportunities and no jobs were created. However, it’s been reported that the city has the weight of Mamtek’s debt on its shoulders.

Upon notification of this unfortunate incident, the Senate took action. The Senate Governmental Accountability Committee was charged with researching the collapse of the project, particularly the role the Missouri Department of Economic Development played in dealing with the company, and who failed to research the financial strength of the company and the documentation that supported its financial ability to build a new plant. It’s important that we learn what went wrong during the evolution of the project, and prevent mishaps from occurring in the future. Please click here to review the committee’s hearing schedule.

Throughout the First Extraordinary Session of the 96th General Assembly, I have been dedicated to making wise and fiscally responsible decisions for the benefit of Missouri business and families. Lawmakers in both chambers are working toward a compromise regarding economic development legislation, and I hope we will be able to come to an agreement. It’s important that we pass a structured bill that will help businesses create jobs, while accomplishing much-needed reforms to existing tax credit and job creation programs.

If you have any questions regarding this or any other legislative matter, please don’t hesitate to contact me at the information below. I always encourage Missourians to be involved in their government, and I welcome questions and comments from my constituents. As always, thank you for the honor of allowing me to serve you.

Hoskins: EcoDevo Finally Passes House

House of Representatives Activity

HCS SS SCS SB 8, A.A., was debated on the House floor, third read, and passed, by a vote of 98 to 48. As a supporter, I believe the bill’s economic incentives are necessary during these tough economic times to foster economic development, create new jobs, and help stop the loss of jobs by incentivizing businesses to remain located in Missouri. I also believe it will help create an international marketplace in Missouri; resulting in increased international demand for Missouri products.

At this point the bill will return to the Senate where they will have the option of passing the bill, calling for a committee conference, or doing nothing. Either of the first two options would be great. If the bill ends up in Committee Conference, select members of the House and Senate will be able to sit down and hash out the differences between the House and Senate versions and come to an agreement on an Economic Development bill the State of Missouri desperately needs at this time.

As I am sure you have heard me say already, the sticking points have to do with sunsets on historic tax credits and low-income housing. That being said, our hope is the Senate will stand down from its position and agree to the House version as passed. We will know more the afternoon of Tuesday, Oct 11th when the Senate returns.

Visiting the Capitol

I am certainly looking forward to next week’s visit from the Holden Elementary 4th Graders. I am sure they are excited about a full day of activity with tours of the Capitol, Governor’s Mansion, and the Missouri State Highway Patrol. It should be a very fun packed day.

Ways to Keep in Contact

I consider communication with my constituents a high priority. My weekly Monday morning chat at 8:45 a.m. with Woody at KOKO Radio on AM 1450 is one of the best ways I’ve found for you to literally “hear” from me. During session or interim, tune in every Monday morning at 8:45 to hear the latest concerning District 121.

Please share this report with anyone you feel would be interested in this information. It is genuinely a privilege to serve as your state representative.

06 October 2011

Tim Jones: Majority Minute: House Fulfills Governor's Call To Session, Passes EcoDevo Bill

As cool autumn evenings and sunshine drenched fall skies have quietly and serenely washed over the Midwest, our work on the 2011 Extraordinary Special Session has continued with patient diligence and with a determined spirit to accomplish a legislative agenda that includes an important economic development package that includes historic major reforms to our tax credit programs, correcting an important issue in our election laws, completing a fix to various social media programs used in our public schools, providing Missouri businesses with the economic tools they need to be competitive in the arena of life sciences and research and returning local control of the St. Louis City Police Department to the City of St. Louis. The Missouri House has successfully taken action on ALL of these items and passed out legislative vehicles addressing all of these issues in an overwhelming bipartisan fashion.

House Floor Action: Thursday, October 6, 2011

House Advances Major Jobs Package

Today, my colleagues and I in the House gave approval, in an overwhelming, bipartisan fashion, to the House Committee Substitute (HCS) as amended, to Senate Bill 8. SB 8 is a major economic development plan designed to give businesses the tools they need to create and provide Missourians with good-paying jobs. The package includes a number of provisions designed to spur economic development and bring new jobs to our state. The bill would provide incentives for computer data centers and amateur and collegiate sporting events. It also would help promote Lambert Airport in St. Louis as an international trade export hub by providing incentives for businesses that handle international exports. The bill also contains significant, major tax credit program reforms, substantial reductions in tax credit programs and meaningful taxpayer protections including tying economic incentives to performance. All in all, this is one of the most major economic development bills we have ever passed that ALSO includes historic reform, cost saving measures and taxpayer protections.

During discussion on the House floor, we approved an amendment to SB 8 that will reduce the tax burden for all Missouri corporations. The provision would lower the current corporate income tax rate from 6.25 percent down to 5.5 percent. We believe the reduction in tax burden for Missouri businesses will allow for more growth and the creation of new jobs. In addition, we added another amendment to the bill that would create a state sales tax holiday from July 1-7 on products made in America. Bold tax reform is one of the four pillars necessary to create significant economic development on the State level (tax reduction and reform, labor reform, regulatory reduction and reform and economic development tools).

Tax Credit Sunsets Dominate Economic Development Discussion

As the House and Senate have worked toward an economic development compromise, one of the major stumbling blocks has been the issue of sunsets for some of the state’s most beneficial tax credit programs. The Senate has insisted that we place sunsets on programs for low-income housing and the preservation and improvement of historic buildings. The House has stood firmly in defense of these programs, because we believe they have achieved major accomplishment in helping to revitalize areas across our entire state in desperate need of improvement and rebuilding. Today the House overwhelmingly rejected placing sunsets on these proven programs that have greatly benefitted communities across our state including Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, Kirksville, Columbia and many others.

House leaders have said all along the sunsets will not work as long as one senator is able to stall the entire legislative process (which is a now frequent occurrence) and prevent a vote to reauthorize the credits in the future. In what we believe represents a good faith compromise effort, we passed an amendment to the jobs bill that will force both the House and Senate to make up or down votes on these programs every four years. This will allow the legislature to review the programs to ensure they are working efficiently. At the same time, the language we are using will make certain that a vote does happen and the will of the majority wins out over the interests of one individual. To put this provision into effect, we also will have to pass a companion piece of legislation (HJR 1) that would then have to be approved by a vote of the people. I signed on as a co-sponsor to Representative Ryan Silvey’s HJR 1 which would impose a stringent requirement on the General Assembly to aggressively review ALL tax credit programs every four years and determine whether or not each program should continue to survive based upon its own merits, value to the taxpayer and value to the state as a whole. We are confident the people of Missouri support this idea and invite the Senate to join us.

Bill Now Moves Back to Senate for Consideration

After passing SB 8, the House adjourned for the week. We will now wait and see how the Senate reacts to what we believe is our best chance to create jobs for the many Missourians who are currently out of work. The Senate is scheduled to convene for session Tuesday, October 11. I am hopeful my colleagues on the other side of the building will do what is right for Missouri by taking up and passing the bill sent to them by the House.

The House has now lived up to the spirit and letter of the Governor’s initial call that brought us into Special Session. We have considered all of the legislation that has thus far been filed and passed out all bills in an overwhelming bi partisan fashion. In the face of 9% employment and recognizing the fact that the entire Nation remains mired in economically challenging times, the Missouri House has passed legislation that will not only help businesses create jobs and new opportunities for Missourians all across our state but, in keeping with the necessary fiscal prudence of the day, will provide needed reforms to nearly all of our tax credit programs which will protect taxpayer dollars and insure budget certainty. At this point in time, we now await action from the Senate which will determine if the Special Session will move forward towards ultimate success.

Keaveny: Control Of St. Louis Police Department, Circuit Breaker Tax Credits, Canine Cruelty Prevention Website Launched

Control of the St. Louis Police Department

One of my top priorities for special session is to finally see local control legislation passed by the General Assembly. For years now, lawmakers have debated whether or not to return control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department (SLMPD) back to the city — it's a matter I have fought for since I was elected to the Senate.

House Bill 1 was introduced to the General Assembly, and, if passed, would allow the City of St. Louis to maintain its own municipal police force. Under the legislation:
  • Elected or appointed officials would be prohibited from interfering with a member of the police force in the performance of his or her duties, or with any aspect of an investigation.
  • It is specified that it would be an unlawful employment practice for an official, employee, or agent of the police force to discharge, demote, reduce the pay, or retaliate against an employee of the police force for reporting in the conduct of another employee that he or she believes (in good faith) is illegal.
  • Holidays, vacation, and sick leave remain the same for employees.
  • The city would provide life, health, medical, and disability insurance; coverage for retirees; and would pay an additional shift differential. The spouses and dependents of retirees and deceased personnel who receive pension benefits must have access to coverage at the rate the coverage would cost under the appropriate plan if the deceased were living.
With a compromise reached between the city and the St. Louis Police Officers' Association, many are on board to return control of the police department back to the City of St. Louis.

The legislation is currently under consideration in the Senate. To follow its progress, please click here, or visit and click on "Special Session Information" under the "Legislation" tab at the top of the page.

Circuit Breaker Tax Credits

On Sept. 13, an amendment was adopted in SB 8 to preserve the Missouri Property Tax Credit, also known as the Circuit Breaker Tax Credit. The program allows low-income, disabled, and elderly renters to claim a certain amount of their rent or real estate tax on the home they own or reside in.

I've been told stories of how much this tax break helps Missourians. Thanks to this program, citizens have been able to use the money they save to fix their broken-down cars and get to work, while others have been able to fix their refrigerators and other fundamental appliances and purchase necessary medications.

The amendment was approved by the Senate with a vote of 17-16, and I was happy to cast my 'yes' vote.

Lawmakers in both chambers are currently working toward a compromise regarding this economic development bill. Constitutionally, the General Assembly may continue its special session until Nov. 5 — 60 days after special session began. Please click here to listen to my interview regarding the First Extraordinary Session of the 96th General Assembly.

Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act

One of the special session bills passed by the Legislature and sent to the governor is SB 7, which was approved by lawmakers on Sept. 23. If signed by the governor, the bill would establish the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA). The legislation is designed to attract science and innovation companies to Missouri, creating jobs for countless citizens.

The act replaces the Missouri Technology Fund with the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Fund, which would receive annual appropriations made by the General Assembly, based upon recommendations made by the directors of the Department of Economic Development and Department of Revenue, and contributions made by private entities, the federal government, and local governments.

Although passed by lawmakers, SB 7 states that it would take effect only if SB 8 is approved by the Legislature.

Investigating the Mamtek Deal

While lawmakers in both chambers were working toward a compromise regarding economic development legislation, we heard news that a deal fell through that would have created an artificial sugar factory in mid-Missouri and up to 600 jobs. Mamtek U.S. Inc., the Chinese company that was to build the factory in Moberly, was offered more than $17 million in incentives to expand its business in Missouri. However, the company has missed its first bond payment to Moberly, and the plant remains unfinished.

To investigate what went wrong with this economic development project, I was appointed to the Senate Governmental Accountability Committee. It is very important for my colleagues and I to determine what mistakes were made and how we can learn from them, and how we can help the residents of Moberly recover from any financial loss they may have suffered. Fortunately, the $17 million in incentives I mentioned before were for job creation. Since no jobs were created, Mamtek did not receive any money.

Our first hearing to consider the Mamtek investigation took place on Oct. 5. Future committee hearing information will be posted on the Senate hearing schedule on the Missouri Senate website (

Open Enrollment Reminder

Click on postcard [at left] for a larger image.

Don't forget, I will be hosting a FREE Medicare Open Enrollment event for senior citizens and citizens with disabilities:

Tuesday, Oct. 18., from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church
5515 Dr. Martin Luther King Dr. in St. Louis

There, you will be able to:
  • Learn more about your Medicare options.
  • Enroll in a new prescription drug plan for 2012.
  • Visit with senior services organizations.
  • See if you qualify to pay less for Medicare.
Several organizations will be available to offer you complimentary and confidential services, including:

I offer my deepest thanks to Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church for their kindness and partnership. Along with this event, they helped me host my health fair last August. The church members have been a pleasure to work with, and they truly live by their mission, which is to help create positive change within the people and the community.

For more information regarding open enrollment, please visit or call 800-390-3330.

Click here to view my postcard for the event, and visit this link for further information regarding senior assistance. As always, don't hesitate to call my office at (573) 751-3599 if you have any questions.

Garden District Commission Awarded NAP Tax Credits

I'm happy to announce that the Garden District Commission (GDC) has recently been approved for $105,350 in Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) tax credits. The GDC will use the funding for the redevelopment of the last eight and a half blocks of its Botanical Heights project, which is designed to improve local communities into sustainable and safe neighborhoods for families.

Founded in 1998, the GDC is a non-profit, community-based organization dedicated to neighborhood revitalization in the Botanical Heights, Shaw, Tiffany, and Southwest Garden neighborhoods in St. Louis. Please visit the GDC website at for more information. Congratulations to this caring organization on its accomplishment.

Stella Maris Child Center

I had the recent pleasure of visiting the Stella Maris Child Center in St. Louis. It was an honor to meet the organization's dedicated staff, and the children who are enthusiastic to learn.

Founded in 1849 as a children's orphanage (operated by the Daughters' of Charity), the Stella Maris Child Center was organized to benefit children of all races and backgrounds, and provide them with access to an affordable education. Each year, the organization serves an estimated 164 children and families.

Stella Maris' programs focus on three priorities:
  • Early Childhood Development — creating opportunities for children to develop the appropriate skills to be successful in kindergarten and beyond.
  • Family Development — helping families identify their strengths, reach their goals, and develop strong family relationships.
  • Early Intervention Services — providing support systems and resources to help children and families overcome barriers to success.
Financial aid is available for families and staff members are happy to answer your questions. Please visit the Stella Maris Child Center website at, or call (314) 367-7950.

Covenant House Missouri Receives YOP Tax Credits

Covenant House Missouri is a non-profit organization that empowers homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth to live independently and become contributing members of our community.

Covenant House Missouri, an organization providing housing and support services to homeless and at-risk young adults, has recently been awarded more than $200,000 in tax credits, provided by the Department of Economic Development's Youth Opportunities Program (YOP). This funding will be directed to Supportive Living Programs, which provide counseling, education, employment counseling, job-readiness classes, and life skills training to help young people become productive members of the community and obtain a bright future.

Covenant House Missouri specifically serves young adults age 16 to 21 — many of them suffering from abuse, neglect, and/or a lack of education. Nearly 37 percent of these kids are St. Louis County residents. During Fiscal Year 2011:
  • More than 290 youth were admitted to programs.
  • Counseling helped 166 people.
  • More than 190 young adults were enrolled in GED classes.
  • The average-aged person in Covenant House Missouri programs was 19.
  • More than 2,884 homeless or at-risk youth benefitted from resources and supplies.
The organization provides many helpful services — just a few of them include:
  • GED, literacy, and tutorial services
  • Employment services
  • Health care assistance
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Case management
To learn more about Covenant House Missouri, visit, or call (314) 533-2241.

National Council of Jewish Women

The National Council of Jewish Women- St. Louis Section is dedicated to ensuring a high quality of life for women, children, and families, among many other priorities. (Click on photo [at left] for a larger image.)

I recently met several of my constituents who are members of the National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section. I was happy to discuss several legislative matters with these ladies, including payday loan reform, women's health, and the Illinois VESSA Act. I look forward to meeting with them again in the future.

The National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section is a volunteer-based organization that has stood up for social issues and the well-being of women, children, and families for more than 110 years. The group is also very active in the community — every year, volunteers participate in thousands of hours of community service to help the people of St. Louis.

To learn more about the National Council of Jewish Women-St. Louis Section, visit or call (314) 993-5181.

Grants Available For Health Conscious Communities

The Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) is requesting applications for local policy change efforts that would encourage healthy communities. Applicants are allowed to request up to $75,000 for a project lasting one year. Applications are due Tuesday, Nov. 1.

A MFH correspondent stated that while people can apply from anywhere in the MFH area, MFH is specifically interested in "Let’s Move Cities and Towns," which includes St. Louis.

Communities participating in the "Let's Move" program are dedicated to:
  • Reducing the risk of obesity in early childhood.
  • Making healthy food affordable and accessible.
  • Providing healthy food in schools.
  • Increasing physical activity.
It's estimated that nearly one in three children today are obese or overweight, and a recent study concluded that the health care costs of obesity-related diseases equal to $147 billion each year. Visit the Let's Move website at, and please click here to learn more about MFH programs and grants.

St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE)

Visiting with Michael Holmes, executive director of SLATE. (Click on photo [at right] for a larger image.)

In today's job market, a competitive edge and polished, professional skills are a must. To help give Missourians an edge in the career field, SLATE Missouri Career Centers are available.

These career centers provide training and job placement services to St. Louis City's adult workforce — some of these services, many of them free, include:
  • Job placement
  • Career counseling
  • Professional development
  • Access to training opportunities
The SLATE Missouri Career Centers are organized by the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), a governmental department of the City of St. Louis. SLATE manages the career centers in coordination with the Missouri Department of Labor.

Please visit one of the Missouri Career Centers at the following locations:

1520 Market St., 3rd Floor, St. Louis, MO 63103
Phone: (314) 589-8000

Central West End

4811 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108
Phone: (314) 877-0916

Canine Cruelty Prevention Website Launched

Please visit the Canine Cruelty Prevention Unit site to learn more about how we can protect our pets.

I'm happy to say that Missourians now have another tool in their toolbox for preventing cruelty and abuse to man's best friends. The attorney general's website now includes a "Canine Cruelty Prevention Unit" page.

The page includes information on many important issues, including:
  • What you should do if you bought an animal that is sick.
  • Contact information to see if a dog-breeding facility is licensed in Missouri (573-751-3076).
  • Facilities' inspection and business history.
  • How you can file a complaint against a dog-breeding facility.
It's important that we work together to prevent animal cruelty. Our pets are often like family members, and we need to be sure that they are coming from quality facilities and are cared for correctly.

Please click here for more information about the Canine Cruelty Prevention Unit, or visit the attorney general's website ( and click on the "Canine Cruelty Prevention Unit" link under the "Agriculture & Environment" tab.

Burlison: Civil War Exhibit On Display At State Museum

From the time Missouri became our country's 24th state on Aug. 10, 1821, our state has been filled with a rich history. It's important to know how our state and government evolved over the years and how past decisions continue to affect Springfield and the rest of the state today. As a reminder of how we got to where we are today, our state Capitol offers many educational tours and exhibits for you and your family to enjoy. I strongly encourage you and your family to take advantage of the opportunity to learn about our state's history.

A great attraction allowing you to take a peek into the past is the Missouri State Museum, which is free of charge and located on the first floor of the building. The museum is currently hosting Civil War Tours, which will continue to be held on Saturdays at 2 p.m. until Dec. 17. There, you will have the chance to view artwork, artifacts, and other various displays that pertain to the conflict.

The Civil War was a very uncertain time for our state. Some Missourians were in favor of the Union and others the Confederacy, thus turning brother against brother. Missouri witnessed more than 1,000 conflicts on our soil — more than any other state other than Virginia and Tennessee. While you and your family are on the tour, you'll find out why Missouri was sought after by both Union and Confederate troops, the details of the battles at Wilson's Creek and Westport, the reasons behind General Ewing's Order No. 11, and what the leaders were thinking during battle.

After touring the Civil War exhibit, you may always take a free tour of your Capitol. Tours are offered throughout the year, Monday through Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m. (excluding the noon hour), with the last tour beginning at 4 p.m. On Sundays, tours are offered at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m. You can click here to learn more about the Missouri State Museum, Capitol tours, and other fun activities to do with your family while here in Jefferson City.

I'm very blessed to be able to serve you in southwest Missouri. Walking through the Capitol reminds me of the generations of lawmakers that came before me, and I'm humbled to know that my colleagues and I are currently marking our own footprint on our state's history, making decisions that will benefit you and your family. I appreciate the opportunity to represent you. Thank you and God Bless.

If you would like to meet with me in Springfield during this interim please call my office to schedule an appointment. 573-751-0136.

Nance: A Tale Of Two Tax Credits

Most of you have heard about Mamtech Manufacturing that was building a plant in Moberly. They were to receive $18 million in tax credits for creating 600 jobs and would produce an artificial sweetener at the plant. The city of Moberly issued $39 million in industrial bonds and may be responsible for paying it back unless someone steps forward to take over the project.

Any kind of due diligence would have discovered the company made false claims. The state is fortunate that we only allow tax credits when the project is finished and employees are hired, but Moberly is on the hook.

Good News

The good news is that the economic bill we passed last year for manufacturers ( Ford is one) has paid dividends. Ford will bring the “Transit” line from Europe and assemble it in Claycomo. According to the bill, Ford must invest $400 million and retain the current workers. Ford announced that they will invest $1.1 billion and create 1600 new jobs along with the present 3800.

At least six Ford properties will be closed in other states. GM looks to be hiring 400 new employees in the St. Louis area through the same program.

It does sound simple, but the UAW members must approve all the details. Their agreement would guarantee jobs for another generation.

In the District

Stet School Board member and staff traveled with Aaron Baker and myself to Walton Kansas on September 26th to visit a Charter School with agriculture-technology focus. The Stet Board’s center of attention is what is best for their students.

On September 30th, the “House of Hope” ( Lexington )sponsored a Golf Tournament in Richmond. An excellent turnout of 20 teams played the Golf Course.

The Clay County Economic Development handed out the “Look North” award on October 2nd.. Former Kansas City Police Chief James Corwin received the award for his service to the Northland.

On Saturday, the Orrick community celebrated that the flood was not as severe as it could have been. Hundreds enjoyed the band and carnival atmosphere.

I attended the Northland Community Services event with the Good Samaritan staff on Wednesday.

05 October 2011

Kraus: Waiting on House

This week is another week of inactivity for the Senate in the special session. While we are waiting for the House to act upon an economic development bill [SB8], we senators have not been meeting as a full body in order to save taxpayer money. At this time, it appears that a House committee will meet to hear a bill Wednesday, Oct. 5, and possibly have the full House vote on it Thursday, Oct. 6, after which it would be sent to the Senate for its review.

Basic Training Graduation

While I am disappointed that the House is moving so slowly, the break allows me to take a personal trip to attend the graduation of my son, Tylor, from U.S. Army basic training in Fort Benning, Georgia. Tylor has spent his time there learning basic military customs and training to serve this great country.

Nineteen years ago, I graduated from basic training at Fort Benning. I enlisted in the mechanized industry prior to obtaining a degree at the University of Central Missouri. It was truly a special moment to be able to return to the same base to see my son graduate and shoulder the crucial job of serving as a military service member.

Tylor joined the Army Reserves, and he will train to become a mechanic on the Chinook helicopter. This is the same aircraft that I enjoyed flying while in the U.S. Army Reserves — I am now a member of the U.S. National Guard. He surely appreciates it when I tell people I abandoned flying the Chinook when I learned Tylor was to be a Chinook mechanic! (Actually, I joined the Guard to secure a promotion from Captain to Major; I plan to fly again in the Guard.)

In addition to visiting with my son, I also will bring information back to the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission, of which I am a member. I will be touring the Fort Benning base to learn more about how bases outside of Missouri operate.

New District Office

When I return next week, we will be opening an 8th Senatorial District office in Lee’s Summit. This new office will serve as a direct link to the voters of the 8th District. It also offers me the opportunity to host individual and small group meetings to better understand the concerns of the people of District 8.

It is a great pleasure for me to provide this service to the citizens of the 8th District. The office is a vital way to maintain contact, not only within the district, but between the 8th District and the State Capitol, as well. I look forward to the opportunities that this facility offers to increase communication.

The new office is located at 4201 NE Lakewood Way, Suite 100, Lee’s Summit. Opening Tuesday, Oct. 11, the hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. The office can also be reached by telephone toll-free at (888) 711-9278. Mark Siettmann, my Chief of Staff, will staff the office and will be available to answer questions regarding my current legislative and district activities.

If you would like to meet with either of us there, I encourage you to call ahead for an appointment because occasional meetings and lunches will have us out of the office. The office will be closed when the Senate is in session and on state holidays.

My office in Jefferson City will continue to be open normal office hours; don’t hesitate to contact me there, as well.

Dugger: Annual "Hands-On" Examination Of Dogs Excessive

This morning Representative Don Wells and I met with the legislative liaison for the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Rachel Mobley. The purpose of our meeting was to request that the Director of Agriculture, Dr. Jon Hagler, recede from his stance that veterinarians preform an annual “hands-on” examination of every dog housed in a Missouri dog breeding operation.

Earlier this year, Missouri voters passed Proposition B. Although the intent of protecting dogs in breeding operations was well intended, many requirements within the language of Proposition B were over the top or unenforceable. In fact, many of the requirements in the original language would have driven hard-working Missourians who own and operate breeding facilities out of business.

Without a doubt the protection of animals is important. However, Missouri’s economy is driven by agriculture. One such agricultural industry is Missouri’s 3,000 dog breeding operations. In order to, to address the concerns of “bad” or unlicensed breeders in Missouri, while also making it to where “good” operations could stay in business the Missouri Legislature passed Senate Bill 161, otherwise known as the Canine Cruelty Prevention Act.

Within the bill it was established that all dogs housed in breeding operations receive “necessary veterinary care.” As defined in Senate Bill 161 necessary veterinary care was defined as meaning, “at minimum, examination at least once yearly by a licensed veterinarian, prompt treatment of any serious illness or injury by a licensed veterinarian, and where needed, humane euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian using lawful techniques deemed acceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association.”

As passed, Senate Bill 161 does not specify that the examination be a “hands-on” examination. Not only would a hands-on examination of every dog be a burdensome requirement but it would be more costly and inefficient when in many cases a simple visual examination would suffice. In fact, in earlier drafts of the bill, “visual examinations” were the preferred means of an annual inspection.

To follow up our meeting this morning, I talked with Director Hagler by phone. During our conversation he gave me know impression that he intended to change his stance on the requirements of an annual “hands-on” examination for every dog in a dog breeding operation. As it stands, it is my recommendation that if you have concerns regarding the issue to contact the Governor’s office: by phone at (573) 751-3222 or by mail at P.O. Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102.

Nolte: Manufacturing Jobs Act Helps Expand Employment in the Kansas City Area

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Last year in Special Session, the Missouri Legislature passed the Manufacturing Jobs Act sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nolte, R-Gladstone, which is designed to retain and create jobs in the manufacturing sector. Yesterday Ford Motor Company announced that it will make a $1.1 billion investment in the Claycomo assembly plant. Nolte praised the proposed agreement made between the automobile manufacturer and the United Auto Workers that will create approximately 1,600 more jobs in addition to the 3,800 currently at the plant for a total of 5,400 jobs. That figure does not include the additional jobs created by area suppliers.

“These are not just numbers, but thousands of families who will have the opportunity to have good-paying jobs,” said Nolte. “This is a huge step forward for Kansas City and for the state of Missouri. To see Ford make an even bigger investment in the plant and bring even more jobs to the area gives us a strong sign that we are on the right track with our economic development efforts.” The $1.1 billion investment represents a nearly threefold increase over the $400 million originally anticipated.

The Manufacturing Jobs Act sponsored by Nolte allows qualified automobile and transportation manufacturers and their suppliers to retain a percentage of their withholding taxes when creating or retaining certain jobs. Nolte indicated the legislation can be deemed a huge success now that Ford has decided not only to keep jobs at the plant but to expand the workforce significantly.

“Ford’s decision represents a massive investment that will provide a generation of good-paying jobs with benefits,” said Nolte. “We’ve seen so many people work so hard to reach this point and I’m proud to have played my part in the process. This is truly a win for Missouri workers and their families.” The plan only awaits approval by the UAW.

04 October 2011

Davis: Beware of “Scallywags”

Op. note: Rep. Mike Kelley sent a similar missive on 6 Oct 2011, 9:04a.

At left: Proud to have been able to sew the Joplin tornado US flag into the National 9/11 flag during the 9/11 ceremony.

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love." –Dr. Seuss

Here is why I do not like government getting involved in private industry. Most of the people I talk to on a daily basis feel like if it is a good deal and profitable venture, private business and industry will do it on their own, without government help or intervention.

In July of 2010, an announcement was made in Moberly that Hong Kong based Mamtek International would bring over 600 manufacturing jobs to that community. That company promised that it would produce the “SweetO” brand of sucralose, an artificial sweetener. The City of Moberly issued $39 million in industrial development bonds. The State offered nearly $18 million in incentives. When the ground was broken for the plant, Governor Nixon and former Governor Bob Holden were on hand. “SweetO” is just about to make Missouri’s economy a little sweeter”, Nixon reportedly said that day.

This sounded like great news for Randolph County where unemployment exceeded 10%. The promise was that 120 good paying jobs - $17 per hour - would be created by Christmas and up to 600 more jobs as assembly lines were added over the next few years. Officials bragged that the whole package was put together in the amazing time of 73 days and was supposed to include $8 million in private investment.

Several delays have occurred over the last several months but everything appeared to move forward this summer. Now this sweet deal has turned sour. Plant construction has halted. Mamtek has layed-off all of its employees. The company missed its first $2.2 million bond payment on August 1st. The public became aware of these problems when the bank who was the agent for these bonds released a statement on September 1st. Unless the City of Moberly can find someone else to take over the project, the City appears liable for $39 million. In this situation there were obvious clues that this proposal was too good to be true. I believe that the problems that eventually resulted in the default of this project would have been discovered if the State of Missouri and local developers had practiced “due diligence”. “Due diligence” is the standard of care that we should exercise when we are dealing with someone else’s money.

When questioned at a recent news conference about the States involvement, Governor Nixon said “I don’t run the Department of Economic Development”, he said, “and I don’t work details at the ground level.” The Missouri Department of Economic Development has now made assurances that no State money has been paid to this ill-fated project because the laws authorizing these incentives require that actual jobs be created before payment is made. Despite the Governor’s denials, it is clear that local economic development officials first learned of Mamtek International through the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Despite his attempt to avoid responsibility, the Governor, who appointed the Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development and his appointees, bear much of the responsibility for the mistakes made. It is apparent that the Governor, through his appointees, did not exercise “due diligence”. Any investigation into Mamtek International would have raised red flags. Even a Google search of this company might have put these folks on notice. Just before the deal was struck with Moberly, this company was in negotiations with Bismarck, North Dakota. In an article in the Bismarck Tribune posted on the internet on May 7, 2010, Russ Staiger, President and CEO of the Bismarck-Mandan Development Association indicated that their city had declined a similar offer from Mamtek without further research into the project, which he called “a bit sketchy”. In a recent interview, that same individual described the company as having a “pushy” demeanor that made him uneasy. Staiger recently told the Columbian Tribune that “The business of economic development is full of carpet baggers and scallywags. You just have to be cautious.”

While the company said it had a plant in Fujian Province, China, Janet Morales, editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper called The Moberly Mirror could find no evidence of one. She contacted trade publications and competitors, and found no one who knew of Mamtek. Due diligence, including contact with Staiger and Morales, might have avoided the bad decision to proceed with this project.

There have been several news reports recently that Mamtek was raising private capital by finding Chinese citizens so eager to become U.S. Citizens that they would invest $500,000 in the project to make them eligible to obtain a United States Visa. There is no indication that Missouri officials knew of this offensive practice. This practice does cause one to reflect on the integrity of the developers that Missouri was doing business with. I believe that the State had a responsibility to carefully and cautiously look into this matter instead of expediting the approval to 73 days from the more normal approval period of 6 months. There are some indications that at least one other Missouri community, Marshall, passed on this proposal.

Currently, investigations have begun by the Security and Exchange Commission, the Missouri Attorney General, the Randolph County Prosecuting Attorney and a Missouri Senate Committee. Hopefully, this experience will cause the Governor and his staff to be more cautious of the possibility that they are dealing with carpet baggers and scallywags.

I encourage you to contact me with any suggestions that you may have for Missouri legislation. Also, if you should experience problems in contacting or resolving an issue with a Missouri state agency, please feel free to call my Capitol office at (573) 751-7082 or email at charlie{dot}davis{at}house{dot}mo{dot}gov. Thank you for the honor to serve as your Representative in the Missouri House of Representatives.

03 October 2011

Stouffer: Special Session was all about Waste

Missouri Tax Credits
Fiscal YearRedeemed in millions


2005 $427
For what was deemed as extraordinary reasons, the governor called the General Assembly into a special session in early September. For the most part, economic development was to be the focus. However, this discussion shed more light on Washington-like spending right here in Missouri.

Perhaps the winner of this year's special session was Missouri's taxpayers. Even though very little was changed as far as Missouri's laws, a lot of light was shed on dangerous spending trends in our state. What we are wasting takes away from Missouri's true needs in education, infrastructure and helping the state's poor.

The biggest losers would be the donors and politicians who made failed deals to protect programs only benefiting a few.

Tax credits have been used for years to help certain social or economic special interests. In total, Missouri tax credits have increased over the last 13 years by 430.9 percent, equaling $545 million in 2011. For FY 2012, budget experts estimate the number of tax credits will grow to $639 million. That total is 22 times more than the costs of the state's A+ Schools program. The following programs represent a large portion of the spending. While these projects do help worthwhile projects, their allocations and framework need some reform:

The Senior Circuit Breaker Property Tax Relief is designed to help low-income seniors not be overburdened by rising property taxes. Oddly, renters and those living in nursing homes qualify, as well. Removing those folks would save nearly $50 million to keep the program intact for folks that could lose their homes. While I am not necessarily against helping the poor in this way, I believe it is dishonest to give property tax relief to those that do not pay property taxes.

We rank No. 2 in the nation for Low-Income Housing tax credit giveaways. Once a project is improved, the state provides a tax credit to the developer, which can be bought and sold, and redeemed annually for 10 years.  This has left our state with a liability of outstanding unfunded Low-Incoming Housing tax credit liability of $1.369 billion. That is roughly half of what spend on K-12 education in one year. Developers have been known to install granite countertops in apartments funded under this program, only to replace them later with lower-costing options. The cost per apartment unit in these developments, as provided by a colleague, may shock you (Imagine if new homes had been built for this amount.):

  • Schultz School Senior Housing project in Cape Girardeau used state Low-Income Housing tax credits to rehabilitate 45 housing units. The developer received $372,997 per unit.
  • Bethel Ridge Estates in Columbia received $320,476 per unit to rehabilitate 42 units and then was awarded another $339,588 per unit to rehabilitate another 42 units for Bethel Ridge Estates II.
Historic Preservation tax credits make up one of the largest pieces of Missouri's tax credits programs. Missouri ranks No. 1 in the nation for giveaways in the name of historic preservation having issued $107 million in 2011. These include several projects in our area. Over the last 10 years, Missouri has given out more than $1 billion in Historic Preservation tax credits. Missouri provides developers with a tax credit for approved development costs associated with qualified rehabilitation so long as it falls under certain loose parameters to be considered historic. To finance these projects, the developer takes the tax credits and sells them for cash.

Other programs offered by the state in the form of tax credits and other incentives and reforms can be viewed here.

I believe the governor missed an opportunity to address these tax credit issues during special session. Instead, his call to bring the Legislature back to Jefferson City dealt with a variety of issues that were neither extraordinary nor timely. We will have serious budget shortfalls in the future if we do not get our state's tax credit programs in control.

2011 Tax Credit ProgramAllocation in millionsPercent of Total
Senior Circuit Breaker$11922%
Low Income Housing $107 20%
Historic Preservation $10 18%
Missouri Quality Jobs $57 10%
New Markets$49 9%
Brownfield Remediation $22 4%
Distressed Area Land Assemblage $20 4%
Enhanced Enterprise Zone $17 3%
New Generation Cooperative $14 3%
Neighborhood Assistance $12 2%
BUILD $10 2%
Neighborhood Preservation $10 2%
Other $8 1%


Ridgeway: Holding the Line on Government Spending: Tax Credit Reform Update

Would you invest your own money in any business that guaranteed you would lose at least 75 cents for every dollar you invested? Most rational people would “Just say NO” to such a losing venture. I agree.

Unfortunately, there are those in Missouri’s Legislature who continue to defend the status quo on programs that have a track record of poor returns for every tax dollar invested. Most studies show two tax credit programs (Historic Preservation and Low Income Housing) return somewhere between eleven and twenty-three cents to the state for every dollar spent. Needless to say, this slices a huge hole in the budget each fiscal year.

Some key House members don’t even want to add a sunset clause to these programs – meaning these programs go on forever unless a majority of legislators could gather a collective political will to outright repeal these programs.

“Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth!” said Ronald Reagan. He’s right.

This issue launched the core debate in Missouri’s special legislative session that is currently ongoing in our state capitol.

Each year, the Missouri House and Senate meet in regular session from January through mid-May. We were called into special session on September 6th. The Governor’s call asked us to consider everything from tax credit reform, enactment of new tax incentive programs, transferring control of the St. Louis police from a police commission to direct control of the City of St. Louis, repealing the school “Facebook” law and other provisions. You can read the full call of the Governor into special session at:

The centerpiece of the call was an economic development bill similar to what was discussed during regular session. It called for reducing or eliminating a variety of existing tax credits while enacting others in response to changing technology and opportunities. Key to the proposal was a provision placing lower caps and sunset clauses on two of the most expensive and least productive tax credit programs: Historic Preservation and Low Income Housing. Let me be clear: Legislation filed seeks to amend, not end, these programs by lowering the amount that can be spent on these programs each year and to add sunset clauses for accountability.

Estimates of what the credits would cost at the time of original passage were exponentially lower than the $250 million per year they have ballooned to today. There are no caps on the programs and they continue indefinitely. Our state treasury has a current obligation to pay $1.3 Billion over ten years for just one of these programs.

We have found an example where the “low income housing” tax credit was used to build apartments that cost over $325,000 per unit in areas where the average cost of the typical three bedroom single-family residence cost less than $150,000. Why should taxpayers subsidize such expensive “low-income” apartments when larger single-family houses could be purchased for less than half of the price of a much smaller unit in an apartment complex?

I have always said it is easier to begin a new government program than it is to end one. The situation in which we find ourselves is a perfect example. There is no dispute these tax credits are contributing to the state’s financial difficulties. Their cost continues to rise while revenues are declining. Despite this, key members of the House do not even want to allow a sunset to be placed on them seven years into the future. A sunset clause on its own does not eliminate a program. It simply requires a vote of the legislature for it to continue. Frankly, it is common practice for sunset clauses to be extended by the legislature.

It does not seem appropriate that certain tax credit programs that support important services (such as the Pregnancy Resource Center tax credit) are subject to a sunset clause yet other tax credit programs are not. A sunset clause is a means to keep accountability for every tax dollar woven into the fabric of tax credit programs.

So far, the legislature has passed two bills during special session. One bill (MoSIRA, SB7) creates a tax incentive program aimed at encouraging new businesses to our animal health science corridor. The other bill, SB1, revises the so-called “Facebook” law for our educational facilities in Missouri. All other bills remain in limbo. I will keep you updated as special session continues.

As always, if you have any comments or questions about special session or any other issue of importance, you may contact me by replying to this email or by writing me at luann{dot}ridgeway{at}senate{dot}mo{dot}gov