Special Session, A Burial at Sea?
October 26, 2011

Kansas City Democratic Minority leader Mike Talboy calls the just-ended special session, “the Lost Legislative Session”.

The effort to pass a major economic development bill died quietly Tuesday. It was the political version of an anonymous burial at sea.

The AP reports it took about 40 seconds for Senate leader Rob Mayer to call the State Senate into Session. He then called on Republican Leader Senator Tom Dempsey, the only other senator present. Dempsey moved to adjourn. They both voted to adjourn, that was it.

The session’s major effort was to draw up and approve a jobs bill for the state. Kansas City officials and some local law makers were pushing for a jobs retention bill. They hoped that would provide enough extra tax incentives to keep existing Missouri companies from being lured across the state line into Kansas. Locally, it was referred to as ’business poaching’.

The economic development measures were caught in a battle between House and Senate Republicans over whether or not some reforms on tax credits should be permanent or limited to a certain amount of time.

The legislature did manage to pass a bills reforming Missouri’s ‘Facebook Law’. That will clear up language that will allow educators to use social media more freely in the classroom. Another measure, aimed at attracting more life science and high-tech companies into Missouri also passed. But that measure, the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, (MOSIRA), is linked to the dead jobs bill. Governor Jay Nixon’s office says it is looking at signing the measure despite the connection to the jobs bill.

The legislature also failed to move the Missouri presidential primary from February 7 back until March 6. Republican National Committee rules insisted the date be moved back, or the Missouri GOP would risk losing delegates to the national convention next summer.

Instead, the state GOP will hold a non-binding “beauty contest” primary on Feb.7. The delegate selection process will start with a statewide St. Patrick’s Day caucus on March 17.

According to the state, the session, that started September 6 and died Tuesday costs taxpayers about $280,000.

Northland Democrat Sends Ominous Tweet About Prospects of Special Session Jobs Bill, Says it’s a “Damn Shame”
September 23, 2011

Jay_Swearingen_Headshot_Color_normal.JPGJay Swearingen (@JaySwearingen)
9/23/11 9:10 AM
I’m the floor for House debate. I seriosly doubt either Jobs bill (7 or 8) will become law. And that’s a damn shame.

Kansas Biz Poaching a Big Item as Special Session Fires Up
September 6, 2011

Missouri lawmakers are convening for a special session of the legislature trying to whip the recession, at least in the Show-Me State.

In July, House Speaker Steve Tilley and Senate GOP Chief Rob Mayer outlined a plan for economic development for the state. Two days later, Governor Jay Nixon announced a similar plan and called the special session to start today.

One of the key elements in the session, an effort to boost Kansas City, Missouri’s ability to protect it’s jobs from being “poached” by Kansas.

The state of Kansas ability to lure businesses from one side of the state line to the other has created tensions between the two states. One of the major bills being offered wold strengthen Missouri’s ability to retain those jobs. Governor Nixon has indicated cash payments to companies could be part of the package.

IN his statement calling the session, Nixon said Missouri needs to “to streamline and update Missouri’s training programs, and to increase the efficiencies of the state’s business development incentives;”

““The people of Missouri expect us to work with one another to find common sense solutions,” said House Speaker Steven Tilley, R-Perryville in a statement earlier this summer.

With a tight state budget, the ability of the state is limited on how much can be spent pumping the economy.

That is why tax credit reform is the other key piece of the session. The state wants to scale back the size and number of credits Missouri can offer.

Yet at the same time one of the major pieces of the session is a call for $360 million in state support to create an air cargo hub at Lambert filed in St. Louis. The goal is to increase Missouri exports and  attract foreign trade to the region.

Here are some of the other items on the Special session agenda:

–Attracting more high-tech life science companies to the state under the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA).

 – State Tax Credit Reform, including some tax amnesty.

– Enacting legislation to increase exports and foreign trade through the development of an international air cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. That’s often referred to as ‘Aerotropolis’.

-Moving the Missouri 2012 Presidential primary from February to March 6.

-Amending Missouri’s new ‘Facebook Law’, regulating teacher contact with students using social media

-Incentives to attract high-tech data centers to Missouri

-Offerig local control of the St. Louis Police Department.

Disaster Spending Plan Not Likely in Special Session Says Nixon
August 26, 2011

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says, don’t look for a comprehensive disaster recovery bill when the special session of the legislature starts in September.

“You can’t pay a bill if you don’t know what the amount is”, Nixon told KMBC Thursday in Liberty.

The Governor’s buzz phrase in describing the session that starts Sept. 6 appears to be a “a crisps, narrow-focus, low costs session”.

Nixon wants the session to focus on job creation legislation. That includes a bill he calls Compete Missouri”, which calls for ways to keep jobs in Missouri. Job “poaching” by the state of Kansas is an issue in the Kansas City area.

Nixon does not appear to be worried debate about how much money the state can afford to spend on disaster relief might tie up the session.

The Governor thinks it’s too early for a comprehensive bill.

“I think it’s important to see what the bills are going to be before we come up with a financing plan to do it.

Nixon has withheld $150 from the state budget so far to pay for recovery from the storms and floods. He expects the state to spend much more.

“It’s incredibly expensive”, he said.

Nixon says trying to develop a spending plan now is too early because the recovery is just beginning.

“It’s like if you have a home and you have completed building the foundation. You wouldn’t go to the bank and tell them that is all the money I need right then. We’re done with the project”.

Nixon Says State Will Cover Additional Joplin Clean Up Cost
August 4, 2011

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says the state will pick up the rest of the local costs to clean up the debris from the May 22 Joplin tornado.

A deal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency had FEMA paying for 90% of the clean up costs. That arrangement ends this weekend on August 7.

FEMA has denied a request for an extension.

Now FEMA will scale back and pay 75% of the cost from August 7th forward.

Nixon says the state will cover its share and Joplin’s.

A statement says that will create “a dramatic increase in cost”.

No number was mentioned.

The statement also says, “Gov. Nixon has reserved $150 million in the state budget to help expedite rebuilding and recovery efforts, and those funds will help cover these costs. Financing for disaster recovery will be a key topic to be addressed by the General Assembly during the special session in September.”