Missouri Supremes Listen to Arguments on November Ballot Issues

(AP) — The Missouri Supreme Court questioned Monday whether voters should still get a say on a trio of pocketbook initiatives this November if it rules that the auditor didn’t have the authority to estimate the measures’ effect on state revenues.
At issue before the seven-member high court are initiatives that would ask votes whether to raise tobacco taxes, increase the state’s minimum wage and limit the interest rates that can be charged on payday loans. Supporters have submitted petition signatures to get all three of the measures on the general election ballot.
While election authorities are still counting and verifying those signatures, the state Supreme Court is considering a constitutional challenge to a 1997 law directing the auditor to prepare financial estimates that appear on petition sheets and the ballot.
Judges in Cole County, which is the seat of Missouri government, issued conflicting rulings earlier this year on whether that law runs afoul of a section of the Missouri Constitution forbidding laws from imposing duties on the auditor that are not related to supervising or auditing the collection and spending of public money. Circuit Judge Jon Beetem ruled the law violated the constitution, because the financial estimates deal with future costs or savings, not the auditor’s core function of examining money already spent or received. But in a separate case, Circuit Judge Dan Green found no problem with the 1997 law.

One Response

  1. Reblogged this on KC Education Enterprise and commented:
    In this era of less state money for schools, the Missouri State Board of Education is hoping Missourians will vote next fall to increase tobacco taxes. Schools’ budget deadlines are July 1, and some are planning on running deficit budgets, so any extra funding would help. However, if Missouri’s Supreme Court takes this measure off the ballot, no additional funding will be forthcoming.

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