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Kansas Revenue Estimates Off in July
July 31, 2015

(AP) – Kansas collected about $3.7 million less in taxes than it expected in July, largely because of lower-than-anticipated revenues from its newly increased sales tax.

The state Department of Revenue reported Friday that the state collected $417.6 million in taxes, when officials projected $421.3 million. The shortfall is 0.9 percent.

The report came a day after Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget director announced $63 million in adjustments to the state’s $15.4 billion budget to lessen the chances of a deficit. Lawmakers last month increased sales and cigarette taxes as well.

Sales tax collections were $189.1 million for the month, or $3.9 million less than expected. The shortfall was 2 percent.

But the state’s personal income tax collections were $3 million more than expected, at $153 million. The surplus was 2 percent.

House Democratic Leader Tom Burroughs of KCK said, ““Given that this is the first month of the fiscal year, I am concerned state revenue is already down.”

Now It’s Senate Leader Dempsey Leaving Missouri Senate
July 31, 2015

(AP) – Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey said Friday that he is resigning from office to launch a new private-sector career and spend more time with his family.

Dempsey told The Associated Press his resignation will take effect Aug. 7 and he hopes to say more about his new job in the coming weeks.

The Republican from St. Charles first was elected in 2000 to the House, where he rose through the ranks to become majority leader, and has served since 2007 in the Senate, again as majority leader before ascending to the chamber’s top position of president pro tem.

He is the fifth lawmaker to resign in the past year. But Dempsey said his departure is unrelated to recent scandals involving colleagues. Last week, Democratic Sen. Paul LeVota said he would resign effective Aug. 23 while denying allegations that he sexually harassed interns. In May, Republican House Speaker John Diehl resigned after acknowledging he exchanged sexually suggestive text messages with an intern.

Dempsey said he had considered stepping down late last year but decided to wait until after the 2015 legislative session in order to maintain continuity in the Senate after the chamber’s longtime secretary and its staff administrator both retired.

“It’s time to do this for my family,” Dempsey said in an AP interview before releasing a written statement about his resignation. Serving in public office has “been rewarding, it’s been challenging, but it also takes its toll.”

Sifton Drops Out of Dem Primary for Missouri AG
July 31, 2015

(AP) — Democratic state Sen. Scott Sifton said Thursday that he’s dropping out of next year’s race for Missouri attorney general and instead will seek re-election to the Senate.
Sifton’s departure leaves St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman as the only Democratic candidate in the race. Two Republicans also are running for the office.
“It has become clear that I can best serve the citizens of south St. Louis County and the State of Missouri by returning to the Senate,” Sifton, of Affton, said in a statement. “I have spent my entire tenure in the Senate advocating ethics reform, and we clearly need it.”
Sifton cited banning lobbyist gifts as one of his priorities for later work in the Senate.
The Missouri attorney general’s office will be open next year because Democratic incumbent Chris Koster has said he plans to run for governor.:
Republican state Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia appears likely to face-off with Republican attorney and University of Missouri School of Law associate professor Josh Hawley in a GOP primary for the seat.

Cierpiot Looks at Majority Leader Post
July 31, 2015

Missouri Times:

ST. LOUIS – After former Majority Floor Leader Todd Richardson left his position to become the speaker of the house in the tumultuous final hours of the 2015 legislative session, Rep. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit, took over the Republican Caucus in the House for a few hours.

Tomorrow, he’ll lobby to continue on in that role and become the majority floor leader for the next year, and he believes he’s the right candidate for the job because it would provide stability to the position.
“The whole session was very difficult,” he said, citing the suicide of state auditor Tom Schweich and the John Diehl intern scandal that embroiled Jefferson City over the course of the session. “We got a lot done people don’t realize… but there’s been a lot of upset. I think the continuity from Todd and I provides a sort of a buffer. It helps us to stabilize things and just move forward,”

James Names Scott Wagner Mayor Pro Tem as New Committee Assignments Are Announced
July 30, 2015

Kansas City Mayor selected Northland City Councilman Scott Wagner as the Mayir Pro Tem for the 2015-19 Kansas City Council. The Pro Tem serves in the Mayor
Lace when he is out if town.
“Councilman Wagner worked very hard last term and shares my commitment to making Kansas City the best. I know he will be an outstanding Mayor Pro Tem,” James said in a statement.
The new City Council will be sworn in Saturday morning at ceremonies at the Gem Theater. Here are the committee assignments:


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