Politics & Issues

State of Missouri Budget
4:01 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Mo. revenue increases through November, but falling short of expected numbers

(via Flickr/_J_D_R)

Missouri tax revenues have increased this year but are falling short of what was expected in the state's budget.

The state Office of Administration reported Friday that state revenues through November increased 2 percent, to $2.84 billion from $2.78 billion last year. So far, sales tax collections are up 3.4 percent but corporate income taxes are down 10.7 percent.

Nixon on Mamtek, MOSIRA
3:51 pm
Fri December 2, 2011

Nixon comments on Mamtek hearings, MOSIRA lawsuit

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his administration wisely handled the vetting of a Los Angeles-based company that began building an artificial sweetener plant in Moberly, then pulled out after missing its bond payment to the small northeast Missouri town.

Moberly officials told a State House committee this week that the governor’s Department of Economic Development withheld emails from a DED consultant revealing that he could not verify whether Mamtek had a functioning plant in China.  Nixon did not address that accusation when talking with reporters today, but he did say no taxpayer dollars went to Mamtek.

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Mo. 2012 pre-filed bills
4:31 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Mo. lawmakers begin pre-filing bills for 2012 session

Mo. Capitol
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Missouri lawmakers began pre-filing bills today for next year’s legislative session, which begins January 4th.

One bill was influenced by the deadly Joplin tornado.  If passed, it would allow Missouri residents to deduct up to $5,000 from their state income taxes for building storm shelters on their properties.  It’s sponsored by State Representative Terry Swinger (D, Caruthersville).

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Cole McNary / Election 2012
3:10 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Rep. McNary from Chesterfield to run for Mo. treasurer's office

Missouri state Rep. Cole McNary, R-Chesterfield.
via Flickr/KOMU News

A state House member from Chesterfield is the first Republican to officially enter the Missouri treasurer's race.

Rep. Cole McNary said Thursday that he will seek to challenge Democratic Treasurer Clint Zweifel in the 2012 elections.

McNary cast himself as a fiscal conservative while announcing his candidacy. But he told The Associated Press that he has no particular complaints over the way Zweifel has run the office.

Zweifel had more than $720,000 in his campaign account at the end of September. McNary had a little over $28,000.

Missouri Redistricting
4:14 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

New Missouri State House, Senate Redistricting Maps Released

A small cutaway of new Missouri House of Representatives district map submitted to the Missouri Secretary of State. This view shows a portion of the St. Louis region. For more maps and to explore further, see the maps and links in the story below.
(Missouri State Redistricting Office)

Updated at 6:42 p.m. with comments from Mo. Sen. Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield).

New redistricting plans and maps for the Missouri General Assembly have been filed with the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

Redistricting occurs every 10 years, and is based on results from the census. Missouri's most recent census data, with shifts and increases in population, required significant changes to be made.

“We have worked collaboratively to draw maps that comply with the constitution, the Voting Rights Act, and other legal requirements,” Lisa White Hardwick, chair of the Missouri Appellate Apportionment Commission, said in a release.

The St. Louis area has lost a State Senate district.  The 7th District is represented by Jane Cunningham (R, Chesterfield) and mainly consists of western St. Louis County.  Starting in 2013, it will consist of six counties to the north and west of the metro area and a small portion of St. Charles County.  Cunningham says she’ll now run for the 27th District Senate seat, which will include parts of St. Louis and Jefferson Counties.

“I had expected much of this area to be mine anyway, I’ve already been working in many of what would be new areas, and so they know me," Cunningham said.  "Our home is in another area, but this is my stomping grounds.”

Cunningham will have to move to a new home in order to live in the new 27th District, which she calls a minor inconvenience.  The new State Senate boundaries also have Cunningham’s current home in the same district as fellow Republican Senator John Lamping

Here are the newly submitted maps for the St. Louis region (click within each to expand and explore):

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Mamtek investigation
11:12 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Mo. jobs chief defends review of sweetener maker

Mo. DED Dir. David Kerr testifies at a Mo. House hearing on Mamtek on Nov. 30th, 2011.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Department of Economic Development is defending its role in the Mamtek controversy, in which the town of Moberly issued $39 million in bonds to build an artificial sweetener plant which never opened.

DED Director David Kerr told the House Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability that his agency carefully reviewed Los Angeles-based Mamtek’s request for state incentives, which were not issued – but he also said that it’s not DED’s role to double-check every claim made by every company seeking tax credits.

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Mamtek investigation
5:41 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Mo. House committee begins Mamtek hearings

The Mo. House Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability meeting Nov. 29th, 2011, at the Mo. Capitol.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

Two days of hearings are underway at the Missouri Capitol to explore why an artificial sweetener facility in Moberly never opened and why the small town’s bond rating took a hit.

The House Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability is focusing on conflicting documents over the trustworthiness of the company Mamtek. Corey Mehaffy heads the Moberly Area Economic Development Corporation. He testified that the state Department of Economic Development never shared emails with the city revealing that a DED official could not verify whether Mamtek had a functioning plant in China.

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MoDOT winter prep
5:15 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

MoDOT preparing for winter snow removal

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The Missouri Department of Transportation says snow removal won’t be an issue this winter, despite the agency’s downsizing.

MoDOT’s downsizing includes laying off 1,200 workers, closing over 130 facilities, and selling off hundreds of pieces of equipment.  State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright says, though, that the number of workers assigned to remove snow and ice will remain the same.

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MO Statehouse
3:25 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

Nixon: lack of action by supercommittee could impact Mo. state budget

An interior view of the Missouri State Capitol building in Jefferson City, Mo.
(via Flickr/jimbowen0306)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon says he's monitoring the situation in Washington, following the so-called congressional supercommittee's failure to reach an agreement on reducing the nation's debt.  He admits it's possible that the lack of action by Congress could impact Missouri's state budget next year:

"The uncertainties that you have in this job about the dollars coming in are very real…if they fail to reach the continuing resolution to move things forward by the end of the year is something we're looking at, to measure what that would do to the state," Nixon said.

Vioxx settlement
5:09 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Missouri settles lawsuit against pharmaceutical company Merck

(via Flickr/CarbonNYC)

Missouri will receive nearly $14 million, as part of a settlement of a multi-state lawsuit against drug manufacturer Merck.

The lawsuit centers on the prescription drug Vioxx, which the company marketed as a painkiller for people diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis.  Merck has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for promoting the drug before receiving FDA approval, and it will pay $950 million in criminal and civil penalties.  The company halted sales of Vioxx in 2004 after evidence showed the drug doubled the risk of heart attack and stroke.

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