Archive for the ‘kansas city’ Category
Lee’s Sumitt Lawmaker Backs Off Resignation Threat
May 23, 2013
A Missouri lawmaker who threatened to resign unless one or both of his key bills survived the last day of the 2013 legislative session is staying put, even though both bills failed to make it out by Friday’s deadline.
State Representative Jeff Grisamore (R, Lee’s Summit) said his resignation threat was based on frustration with the Senate’s inaction on the bills — House Bill 717 would have provided funding for disabled children and House Bill 727 for disabled adults. Both bills died when the Missouri Senate chose not to advance them on the final day of session.
“We don’t need to be waiting and allowing such important bills that impact our most vulnerable citizens in Missouri, folks with disabilities and at-risk women and children and families, be put off until the last minute,” Grisamore said.
Grisamore changed his mind after talking with House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) and Majority Floor Leader John Diehl (R, Town and Country).
“They assured me that they’ll do everything they can to help us next year insure that the omnibus disability bill passes,” Grisamore said.
Kansas and Missouri earned middling grades from experts who assessed the infrastructures of both states.
Kansas got a ‘C-minus, so did the state of Missouri.
“Is a C-minus good enough?’ asked one of the contributors to the report, Tom Jacobs, one of the reports co-chairs.
The reports were prepared by the Kansas, Kansas City and St. Louis sections of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
A panel of engineers looked at a wide range of infrastructure components in assessing the states.
It ranged from the conditions of roads, bridges and dams to the quality of schools.
Missouri got grades of ‘C’ for its aviation, railroads and schools. That was the highest grade the state received.
It got a ‘D-minus’ grade for its dams and a ‘D-plus’ grade for Missouri’s energy industry.
Kansas scored highest with ‘C-plus’ grades for its schools and roads.
Both states are struggling with money because of the recession. The authors expressed frustration with politicians at every level.
Another contributor, Larry Freevert, however, reserved his harshest comments for member of Congress..
He said Washington politicians are too consumed with what he called, ‘the crisis de jour’”.
“They’re looking at things like immigration, gun control, Social Security. Those are pressing on their plates right now. And infrastructure gets pushed back,” said Freevert.
The lowest grades came in the rating for both states dams and bridges.
Kansas earned a ‘D-minus’ grade for its dams.
Kansas’ 6,087 dams is second only to Texas. The state has 230 on the “high hazard” list. That means if one of those fails, it could result in killing someone or damaging property.
More than 3,000 Kansas bridges are on the structurally deficient list.
One of the authors, Alex Darby, noted Kansas has recently de-regulated some dams from inspection.
“That isn’t the solution, de-regulating them,” Darby said.
Missouri’s dams also earned a ‘D-minus’ grade. The report says Missouri could use more regulation of its dams, especially the ones on farms that may have been forgotten.
Missouri got its highest grades for is schools and roads.
The state of Missouri’s roads was a major topic for the just-finished session of the state legislature.
An effort to devoted 1-cent of the state sales tax for roads failed in the final days.
Missouri continues to talk about the future of I-70 that stretches from Kansas City to St. Louis.
Missouri’s money problem with roads, according to the report, is complicated by its low fuel tax. That tax is the state’s main source of highway money. That problem is complicated by cars getting better fuel mileage and more conservative driving practices by drivers.
A trio of Republican lawmakers, including St.Sen. Eric Schmitt from St. Louis County, campaigned in Kansas City Tuesday for the 2013 Missouri tax cut bill.
Schmitt met with members of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce at midday.
One of the Kansas City Chamber’s legislative priorities this year was finding ways to compete with the tax cuts and incentives the state of Kansas has used to attract Missouri companies to cross the state line.
Schmitt repeated his claim that while Kansas was first to cut taxes on corporations, small business and its income tax rates–Kansas wasn’t the first to think of it.
“We’ve been working on this before Kansas did,,” he told KMBC 9 News, “but this year, we actually got it done.”
Missouri lawmakers passed a measure calling for a drop in the corporate income tax to be phased in over several years; a tax cut for smaller companies–also to be phased in.
The measure also includes a cut in the Missouri income tax rate from 6% to 5.3%. It is the first such income tax cut in Missouri in 90 years..
Schmitt was hosted by Lee’s Summit Republican Senator Will Kraus. Some of the elements pushed in Schmitt’s bill were combined into Kraus’ version.
Clay County St. Rep. T.J Berry was the bill’s original House sponsor.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon has not said if he’ll sign the bill or not. Nixon recently said he was worried about an estimated 800 million the bill coust cost the state because of the cuts.
Krause, Schmitt and Berry claim the Nixon number is wrong, that it’s too high. They claim it’s more in the range of $400-$700 million.
Kraus also countered by saying over a decade, the state would get a billion dollars more in money from a strong economy through the tax cuts.
“To bring in an additional one billion dollars over a 10 year period, to cut 700-800 million, i think is a responsible way to do tax policy in Missouri,” said Kraus.
In addtion to cutting taxes, Kansas offers incentives to Missouri companies to move across the state line.
One company, Central States Capital Markets, moved five miles to relocate in Kansas.
The firm, an investment company, had been on the western edge of Kansas City’s County Club plaza.
Dan Stepp, an executive with the firm, said it was the Kansas financial incentives, more than that tax rates, that helped the company to decided to relocate.
He also said the Kansas City suburban location in Prairie Village, Kansas, was easier to get to for many of the firm’s customers.
Nixon Pledges to Continue Medicaid Expansion Battle
May 21, 2013
Nixon’s office released a letter calling the Republican dominated legislature’s refusal to consider his Medicaid expansion plan a ‘temporary setback”.
He continued, “our coalition remains united, dedicated and determined to move our state forward.”
Expanding Medicaid was the Missouri Democrat’s top priority for the 2013 session. He crisscrossed the state repeatedly campaigning for it.
Nixon wanted to expand Medicaid to cover a total of 300,000 Missourians. He claimed it would add 24,000 new health care jobs in the state.
House and Senate Republicans, however, defeated every effort made by the Governor and the Democrats to push the expansion.
Many Republicans regarded Nixon’s plan as an endorsement of President Obama’s health care reform bill. The votes in the Missouri legislature were never close.
His letter included the basic argument the Governor made for months, “put aside the numbers, and the simple fact remains that making it easier for hundreds of thousands of working Missourians to get basic health care…is the right thing to do.”
Mass transit activity Clay Chastain says he’ll be returning to Kansas City soon to campaign for his mass transit plan.
Chastain’s efforts at getting some sort of light rail or mass transit has been blocked repeatedly by City Hall.
Chastain says he’s planing to returns for 14 days worth of campaigning at civic groups and with reporters to sell his $1.5 billion plan.
Chastain wants an integrated system of light rail, streetcars, buses to cover the Missouri side of the metro.
He plans to use a combination of a local sales tax, state money and federal funds to operate the system.
He says he’ll try taking “the more positive approach” rather than the confrontational style Chastain has been known for in the past.
He didn’t give a set of dates for the 14-day campaign, but says it will be soon.