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Spence Jackson Note Shows He Feared Being Unemplyed
March 31, 2015

(AP) – Missouri auditor’s spokesman Spence Jackson stayed on the job following his boss’ suicide, but a note found at his apartment shows he apparently was concerned about the potential of getting laid off when he decided to also kill himself.
Police investigating Jackson’s apparent suicide released, at his family’s request, the contents of a brief hand-written note that authorities said Tuesday was on the living-room table in Jackson’s apartment. His body was discovered Sunday in the bedroom.
The letter, dated Friday, said: “I’m so sorry. I just can’t take being unemployed again.”
Preliminary findings from the medical examiner’s office indicate Jackson died Friday afternoon or evening from a single gunshot wound to the head, Jefferson City Police Capt. Doug Shoemaker said. He said the case is being investigated as a suicide.
Jackson’s death came a month after state Auditor Tom Schweich, who was seeking the Republican nomination for governor, fatally shot himself Feb. 26 at his home in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton. Their deaths have shaken Missouri politics – particularly the Republican Party – heading into an important 2016 election featuring races for most of Missouri’s top offices.
Shoemaker said Jackson’s family asked that the note’s contents be released to eliminate speculation and “help potentially clear some things up.”
Jackson’s friend Jeff Layman also released a written statement Tuesday on behalf of the family, who thanked people for their prayers and described Jackson as “a kind, caring and loyal person” who “was passionate about his career and for the elected officials, candidates and causes he represented.”
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon appointed longtime aide John Watson to temporarily oversee the auditor’s office after Schweich’s death.
Watson met with about a dozen senior staff members, including Jackson, to inform them they would keep their jobs under his watch. But Watson told them that when a permanent replacement is appointed, “I can’t assure you that everyone’s position will be maintained,” according to David Luther, who was filling in Tuesday as the auditor’s office spokesman.
Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said Tuesday that the governor hopes to announce a permanent selection for auditor “very soon.”
It’s common for governors to appoint people of their own party to fulfill vacancies. Those appointees often bring in their own top staff.
Republican consultant James Harris said he had spoken with Jackson about a week ago and offered to help him try to find a new job.
“When a new auditor comes in, there’s a high probability that there would be staff changes,” Harris said Tuesday. “I mentioned, ‘Hey, can you get a resume to me?’ … and I’ll start looking around.”

James Hints at Tax Hike After State of State Speech
March 31, 2015

Kansas City Mayor Sly James hinted Monday at the possibility of a second term tax increase to pay for city repairs.

James was asked about the possibility following his State of the City Speech.

In the speech, the mayor in plans to deal with the backlog of needed repairs.

” I will not kick that can down the road,” he said during the speech.

Later reporters asked if that might include a request for a tax increase.
“It could, ” James said. The mayor, however would not elaborate on the plan. He said he’s not at the point yet where the plan is well developed. The Mayor said details could be several months away.

The mayor also praised the developing high technology firms coming to Kansas City.

He also noted that the combined city-county-federal crackdown on violent criminals seems to be paying off.
“2014 was a turning point for violent crime in Kansas City,” the mayor declared.

James also stated his support for expanding the role of charter schools in the City.
He said public and charter schools should stop arguing and work together to find proven ways of improving learning among inner city pupils

Kansas Tax Projections Off in March
March 31, 2015

(AP) – Kansas says it collected $11 million less in taxes than anticipated this month.
The state Department of Revenue said in a preliminary report Tuesday that the state collected $391 million in taxes in March, when it expected to take in $402 million. The shortfall is 2.8 percent.
Since the fiscal year began in July 2014, tax collections have been $48 million less than anticipated, or about 1.2 percent short of expectations. The state collected almost $4 billion in taxes during the past nine months.
The lower-than-anticipated tax collections this month could complicate efforts by legislators to close a budget shortfall projected at nearly $600 million for the fiscal year beginning July 1.
But the department noted that individual income tax collections are running ahead of expectations.

Kansas Liquor Debate Pits Big Box vs Mom & Pop
March 31, 2015

(AP) – Kansas counties would be allowed to expand liquor licenses under a bill being discussed by a state Senate panel.
Lobbyists and representatives of supermarkets and liquor stores gave dueling testimony on Tuesday during a hearing in the Senate Federal and State Affairs Committee.
The bill would allow big box retailers to sell liquor, wine and full strength beer in counties that approve the measure through a local election.
Supporters say it would be more convenient for consumers, but opponents say it would hurt the state’s roughly 750 individually owned liquor stores.
Committee Chairman Republican Sen. Ralph Ostmeyer says the bill is unlikely to pass, though he acknowledged that intense lobbying efforts by supporters would likely push the measure through the Legislature eventually.

Missouri House Pushing Medical Marijuana Measure
March 31, 2015

(AP) – Republican support for a medical marijuana law is moving a proposal forward to the full Missouri House.
A House panel Tuesday unanimously approved a Republican-sponsored measure that would allow some Missouri residents with specific illnesses to obtain and use marijuana legally.
Committee Chairman Republican Rep. Caleb Jones, of Columbia, says there are safeguards in the bill to prevent abuse. He says the House should decide on the issue.
Advocates for broader legalization of marijuana say the measure might be too restrictive. They cited concerns with tight limits on the amount patients can obtain, the exclusion of some illnesses and the lack of a home growing allowance for patients.
House Speaker John Diehl says there’s a chance the measure could move forward, but he wants to be sure it’s fully vetted.

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