Archive for the ‘Missouri Politics’ Category

KC Dropped From E-Tax Abolition Bill
January 28, 2016

Kansas City Mayor Sly James says it was surprised Kansas City was removed from a bill aimed at eliminating the earnings tax in Kansas City and St. Louis.
A Senate substitute for the bill now calling for the earnings tax in St. Louis to be phased out over 10 years.

The tax generates about $162 million dollars ayear for the city, according to Mayor Francis Slay’s office. That is about 33% of the St. Louis City budget.

The mayor said in a statement Thursday he does not think the revised bill will survive.

State Senator Kurt Schaefer pushed the bill. He said the earnings tax was vulnerable because the US Supreme Court struck down a similar law in Maryland.

Kansas City officials argued its law was legally sound. They told a State Senate hearing the kansas City earning tax contained a provison to allow for tax credits. That prevents non-residents from being double taxed on the 1% tax; and keep it legal.

Meanwhile Kansas City’s Mayor used a news conference to expand on a fued with state lawmakers.

“The issue of local control is an on-going issue with the state legislature,” James said.

He has been very critical of state attempts to make access to guns easier. He think it hurts crime fighting efforts in the city.

Another issue is control of the municipal courts.

Just Thursday, the Missouri Senate passed a bill limiting municipal courts ability to assess fines.

The measure limits fine to $200 for minor traffic violations and local ordinances.

Kansas City is concerned a limit like that may affect is ability to enforce housing codes.

“What I said t them when I was down there was, I’m not asking for a penny. All I am asking you is to leave us alone. I am still on that same note,” ,James said Thursday.

Kansas City will still have an April 5 vote to renew its earnings tax. That is required by state law

Kansas City May Be Removed From E-tax Abolition Bill
January 27, 2016

Kansas City may dodge the bullet on the earnings tax at the Missouri Legislature.

Two sources say a substitute bill takes Kansas City out of the legislation
Earlier this month,
State Senator Kurt Schaefer proposed eliminating the Kansas City and St Louis earning tax.

The money from the 1% tax on income generated inside the city
represents about 40% of Kansas City’s general fund.

It’s about a third of the St. Louis operating budget.

Sen. Schaefer says he did not think the earnings tax could stand up to a court challenge after a recent US Supreme Court ruling on a similar Baltimore, Md. tax.

At a hearing earlier this month about 30 Kansas City testified against the Schaefer bill.

The substitute bill is expected to be offered in the Senate Ways & Means Committee Thursday.

Columbia Campus Chief Promises Recovery as Former MU Prez Blasts Leadership
January 27, 2016

The interim chancellor of the University of Missouri- Columbia admitted the schools recent past has been “painful”, but promised the Columbia campus’s would recover.

” I know full well that what has happened here at Mizzou has shaken you. It’s shaken you deeply,” Interim Hank Foley said during his ‘ State of the University’ speech Wednesday afternoon.

Foley said the campus must change its culture to be more inclusive.

The MU campus in Columbia was stunned by student protests last November.

African American students said they did not feel safe on campus or even in the town of Columbia.

The protests drew national headlines when the school’s football team threatened a strike in alliance with the protesters.

The turmoil forced the resignation of the Columbia chancellor and the university president Tim Wolf.

Wednesday, the Columbia Tribune reported on an e-mail from Wolf.
He criticizes the school he once led.

“The University of Missouri is under attack and the leadership from the Board ( of Curators) on down is frozen”.

Wolf also said the alliance of the football team made matters worse, not better.

Foley did not take questions about Wolf’s remarks after he finished his speech.

Foley said MU needs to adapt to survive.

He asked students, employees, alums and Missouri residents for patience.

“I can’t rewind the tape. I can only keep pushing us forward. But I can assure you, we will recover,” he said.

Foley also announced graduate student teachers at MU would keep their current health care for one more year.

Those students would also receive raises over two year increasing their pay from $12,000 a year to $18,000.

Grad student complaints about the loss of thief insurance was one of the elements that sparked some of the protests last year.

McCaskill & Jury Find for Injured Man in Lawsuit
January 27, 2016

(AP) – Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill did something Wednesday that her congressional colleagues in Washington have found elusive – she reached a consensus, even if it was during her first-ever stint on a jury.
The Democratic former prosecutor and 11 other jurors sided with a 51-year-old St. Louis County man, Leotis Tate, in his negligence lawsuit against QuikTrip Corp. over his 2014 tumble outside one of the company’s convenience stores.
The jurors awarded Tate $45,000 in damages, but he’ll only get $33,750 because they deemed him to be 25 percent at fault. Each side must pay its own attorney fees.
McCaskill, who gushed on Twitter on Monday about how being picked for a jury was astonishing and a lifelong dream, said Wednesday that hearing and deciding the case left her “feeling empowered.”
“Everyone (on the jury) had very different perspectives and different viewpoints, a lot like Congress,” she told The Associated Press by telephone after hustling back to Washington. “Instead of retreating to corners, everyone listened to each other. People were willing to compromise.

Missouri Lawmaker Says Another Colleague Tried to Punch Him
January 26, 2016

(AP) – A Missouri lawmaker says a colleague upset over a right-to-work bill took a swing at him in an alley outside a Jefferson City restaurant and the two ended up in a fistfight.
Rep. Courtney Allen Curtis released a copy of the restraining order Tuesday that he filed against Rep. Michael Butler. Curtis also asked the House speaker to open an ethics investigation against Butler.
Both are Democratic lawmakers from the St. Louis area.
Curtis alleges Butler verbally confronted him during an AFL-CIO reception at a Jefferson City restaurant Jan. 19 because Curtis had supported a right-to-work bill limiting union powers. He says Butler later took a swing at him in an alley as he was leaving, and Curtis says he fought back.
Butler declined to comment about the incident.

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