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May God bless you - Representative Bill Reiboldt
The focus of my Capitol Report this week is Constitutional Amendment 3 and Proposition A. Separately, both are seeking to increase Missouri’s tobacco tax, but each is in conflict with the other.
Currently, Missouri has a 17-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes, the lowest in the nation. The national average for state tax is $1.65 per pack, with an additional $1.01 for federal excise tax. Perhaps this is the reason why there have been efforts to increase the tax in order to create more money for state government. At this time, money received from the 17 cent tax on a pack of twenty cigarettes is deposited into three different funds: the State School Money Fund receives 9 cents per pack; the Health Initiative Fund receives 4 cents per pack; the Fair Share Fund also receives 4 cents per pack.
On November’s ballot there will be five constitutional amendments and one proposition. A constitutional amendment will amend Missouri’s constitution, while a proposition changes state statutes. Proposed Constitutional Amendments 2, 3 and 4, and Proposition A were all placed on the ballot by the initiative petition process. Only proposed Constitutional Amendment 6 was placed on the ballot by the Missouri General Assembly.
There were approximately 119 initiative petitions filed for a potential spot on either the August primary or the November general ballot. Many of the petitions were repeat filings of the same or similar measures; at least 27 distinct initiatives could have been on the ballot, but for whatever reason were not certified. Perhaps that is a good thing.
To initiate a state statute, like Proposition A, petitioners had to file the necessary information with the Missouri Secretary of State by May 8, 2016. Supporters were required to present at least 98,618 signatures (or 5% of those who cast votes in the last gubernatorial election) from 6 of our state’s 8 congressional districts. To initiate a constitutional amendment, supporters are required to present 157,788 valid signatures (or 8% of those who cast ballots in the last gubernatorial race). These must also come from 6 of the 8 congressional districts.
The focus of my Capitol Report this week will be Constitutional Amendment 1, dealing with an existing state sales/use tax for Missouri parks and soil and water conservation district funding. This tax is automatically up for renewal this fall, and the amendment will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot as follows:
Shall Missouri continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites, and resubmit this tax to the voters for approval in 10 years?
This measure continues and does not increase the existing sales and use tax of one-tenth of one percent for 10 years. The measure would continue to generate approximately $90 million annually for soil and water conservation and operation of the state park system.
Constitutional Amendment 1 will once again go before voters in order to give Missouri citizens the opportunity to decide if the state should continue its one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax for another ten years.
In just 35 days Missourians will go to the polls to decide a variety of political races and ballot measures. The focus of my Capitol Report in the coming weeks will be discussing and informing my constituents about some of the races and ballot measures they will soon be asked to decide. I will share my own opinion and let you know why I hold a particular view.
The November General Election ballot will consist of a full slate of candidates, from the presidency to statewide offices to other state and local races. Ballot measures will consist of five constitutional amendments and one proposition, ranging in topic from Voter ID to a tax increase on tobacco products. The ballot measures represent efforts of the General Assembly—through the referendum process and the initiative petition process—to put measures before voters. A number of individuals from across the state have collected signatures to enable this to happen. The upcoming races and issues make it extremely important for all Missourians, not only to get out and vote, but to educate themselves about the issues on which they will be voting.
Baseball is considered to be “America’s Favorite Pastime,” and it is mine as well. Missouri is home to two of those “Favorite Pastime” quality major league franchises, the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals. While most Missourians know this, many do not realize the strong connection between baseball and our state’s number one industry, agriculture.
Major league baseball came to Kansas City in 1955, when the Philadelphia Athletics moved there. In 1968, the Athletics relocated to Oakland, CA, leaving KC without a team. However, in that same year, Ewing Kauffman won the right to establish an expansion baseball franchise, then initiated a contest and invited area citizens to submit suggestions for a team name. The name “Royals” was selected from the entries, primarily because of the city’s long tradition with the American Royal. Each fall this organization hosts an event displaying championship livestock shows and horse and rodeo competitions, as well as the World Series of Barbecue. Although the American Royal has no formal connection with the baseball team, they complement and support each other in the KC area. The Kansas City Royals played in the 2014 and 2015 World Series, and won the Championship in 2015. Many will remember the I-70 Series in 1985, when the Royals outlasted the Cardinals in seven games and won the Series.
This week I want to make several comments and observations about the just completed 2016 Veto Session and what lies ahead in state government. For all practical purposes, the Veto Session brings an end to Missouri’s 98th General Assembly. The legislature successfully overrode thirteen vetoed bills.
When lawmakers come back in January 2017 to begin the 99th General Assembly, many things will be different. Because of term limits, the make up of the legislature will certainly change. House members can serve four 2-year terms, and Senators can serve two 4-year terms, for a total of sixteen years for any person serving in Missouri’s legislature. Not only will the membership of the House and Senate change, but this fall Missourians will elect new people to 5 of the 6 statewide offices. The unique thing about this is that all individuals coming into these offices will be new to their jobs. We will have a new State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Lieutenant Governor, and a new Governor. Only the State Auditor will remain in office. We can expect change in January of 2017.
Select Committee on Agriculture - Chairman
Appropriations - Agriculture, Conservation, and Natural Resources