Will Kraus

Government Ethics
8:30 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Opinions Differ On When Government Is Working, And When It's Not

The Missouri Capitol Building
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Dysfunction in government is in the eyes of the beholder.

That, in essence, was the upshot of Friday’s Third Annual Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

What some speakers viewed as dysfunction, others saw as evidence of proper government action – or restraint.

Take, for example, the four-person panel of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers, past and present.

Read more
On The Trail
11:14 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Why Missourians Keep On Amending State Constitution

Missouri lawmakers placed more constitutional amendments on the ballot this year than in previous election cycles.
Credit Tim Bommel, House Communications

With dozens of sections and subsections, it wouldn’t be that easy to fit the Missouri Constitution in a shirt pocket. 

In the past 10 years, 24 amendments have been proposed to Missouri's constitution. Not all of those propositions passed, but the Show Me State’s constitution has been changed more often than the federal one. (The U.S. Constitution has been amended 27 times.)

This year’s election cycle featured more constitutional amendments on the ballot – nine – than any time in last decade. Three of them passed in August, and four more will be decided Tuesday.

Read more
On The Trail
9:28 pm
Sun July 13, 2014

Money, Money, Money: Five Things To Look For In Tuesday's Campaign Finance Reports

Credit (via Flickr/Tracy O)

A fundraising quarter before an election is when Missouri politics starts getting real. 

And by “getting real,” I mean getting "real expensive.”

Tuesday is the deadline for campaign committees to turn in their fund-raising reports. These are the documents showing how much money political candidates and ballot initiatives have for the final push to the Aug. 5 primary.  They can also reveal how much cash is being shelled out in competitive primaries.

Read more
Tax Cuts
12:38 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Missouri House Joins Senate To Override Veto Of Tax-Cut Bill

Credit Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House acted quickly Tuesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of a tax-cut bill that is estimated to cut the state's revenue by about $620 million a year when fully implemented.

The House obtained the exact number of votes needed — 109 — with the help of one Democrat, Rep. Keith English of Florissant.  He joined all of the chamber's 108 Republicans.

The House joined the Senate, which voted 23-8 on Monday to override the governor's veto, which he issued last week.

Read more
Tax Cuts
5:08 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Nixon Blasts Tax Cut Bill Sent To Him By Missouri Lawmakers

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, D, answers questions from reporters on his opposition to this year's tax cut bill, SB509.
Credit Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A controversial tax cut proposal has been sent to Gov. Jay Nixon, after the Missouri House passed it late Wednesday afternoon.

Read more
On the Trail
11:20 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Five Questions To Ask In Legislative Session's Waning Weeks

With about a month left before legislators adjourn, some key story lines still haven't reached a conclusion.
Credit UPI/Bill Greenblatt

With roughly a month left to go before adjournment, many of the Missouri General Assembly’s big issues remain unresolved.  

That’s not too surprising. Big-ticket legislation often passes — or dies — in the last weeks of the session. With about a month to go before the final gavel falls, legislation dealing with tax cuts, the state’s criminal code and the student transfer situation are all still up in the air.

The resolution of some conflicts could hinge on unity from Republicans, who control the legislature, while others may fall along less predictable fault lines. 

Read more
Tax Cuts
7:23 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Missouri Senate Passes $620 Million Tax Cut Bill

Credit Flickr/David_Shane

The Missouri Senate passed a tax cut bill, after two different versions were blocked by Republicans who opposed a compromise between the GOP sponsor and Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat.

Read more
Housing
9:01 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Under The Microscope: Questioning Low-Income Housing Tax Credit's Impact And Future

Beyond Housing's Chris Krehmeyer stands in a vacant unit inside Rosie Shields Manor in Pagedale. Krehmeyer's group has developed a number of projects using the low-income housing tax credit, which is under increasing attack in Jefferson City.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

Carl Miles' apartment at Rosie Shields Manor has everything he could want in a home – and then some. 

Miles’ spacious room has sleek wood-like floors and a modern-looking kitchen. He’s within walking distance of a bank and grocery store. And he can even throw parties in the Pagedale facility’s community room or common area – with management’s permission, of course.

“It’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful place to live,” said Miles, who is 70 and retired. “It’s got a lot of security. The people are generally pretty friendly. We socialize a lot. And we have a pretty good time.”

Read more
Tax Cuts/Tax Credits
11:39 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Tax Cut Bill Changes Focus To Tax Credit Reform, Sparks GOP Fight

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

A proposed tax cut that conformed to conditions laid out by Gov. Jay Nixon was radically altered Monday in an effort to move the overall proposal forward.

Read more
Tax Credits
4:57 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Missouri House Sends Tax Credit Overhaul To Senate; Would Cut Preservation, Housing

Rep. Anne Zerr, R-St. Charles, House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, Rep. Noel Torpey, R-Jackson County and Speaker Pro Tem Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, speak to the press.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri House passed legislation on Thursday curtailing two of the state’s largest tax credit programs. 

State Rep. Anne Zerr’s bill would reduce the historic preservation tax credit’s cap to $90 million from $140 million. That program helps refurbish older buildings and has been used extensively throughout St. Louis.

The bill would also gradually reduce the cap on the tax credit for low-income housing to $110 million from $140 million. That credit provides an incentive for developers to build housing for the working poor, elderly and disabled.

Read more

Pages