Capitol Report 08/20/2015

Stadium Financing & Missouri’s Credit Rating
This week the Missouri Development Finance Board approved $15 million in tax credits for a new stadium for the St. Louis Rams football team. Several legislators from both the House and Senate reacted with disappointment. They are opposed to any use of taxpayer funding for a new stadium that does not first include a vote from the legislature. Opponents have said a new stadium, which would cost nearly $1 billion, would incur significant debt that Missourians would be forced to pay. They want the legislature to have a say in how the plan moves forward in an effort to protect taxpayers from an excessive debt burden.

The current financing plan calls for the state to issue $135 million in bonds and for another $187 million in tax credits and other state and local incentives. The remainder of the financing would come from an NFL team owner, an NFL loan program, the sale of seat licenses, and bonds issued by St. Louis. As one lawmaker said, “If you want to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, you cannot move forward on this proposal as it is presented.” In the coming weeks, several legislators plan to continue their efforts to stop the financing plan from moving forward.

Much like the credit rating of individuals, states have similar ratings based on the way they budget and invest taxpayer dollars. This week the state of Missouri received good news as all three rating agencies announced the state has retained its AAA credit rating. Standard and Poor’s Rating Services, Fitch Ratings, and Moody’s Investors Service all indicated Missouri has continued to be an outstanding steward of the state’s tax revenues.

Standard and Poor’s Rating Services wrote, “debt payments are a first-priority budget item in terms of state budgeting” and “the state’s track record regarding its budget management is especially strong.” The end result of maintaining the AAA credit rating is that the state benefits from lower interest rates and long-term investments become more affordable. Missouri is one of only three states with a AAA rating from all three agencies, which is a reminder that the state is a safe place to invest and a strong place to do business. The good credit rating also saves taxpayers millions of dollars in interest each year.

You may read more about what is happening at your Capitol below.

As always, I will work diligently and tirelessly for you as your State Representative.

-Jason

Stadium Financing
This week the Missouri Development Finance Board approved $15 million in tax credits for a new stadium for the St. Louis Rams football team. Several legislators from both the House and Senate reacted with disappointment. They are opposed to any use of taxpayer funding for a new stadium that does not first include a vote from the legislature. Opponents have said a new stadium, which would cost nearly $1 billion, would incur significant debt that Missourians would be forced to pay. They want the legislature to have a say in how the plan moves forward in an effort to protect taxpayers from an excessive debt burden.

The current financing plan calls for the state to issue $135 million in bonds and for another $187 million in tax credits and other state and local incentives. The remainder of the financing would come from an NFL team owner, an NFL loan program, the sale of seat licenses, and bonds issued by St. Louis. As one lawmaker said, “If you want to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, you cannot move forward on this proposal as it is presented.” In the coming weeks, several legislators plan to continue their efforts to stop the financing plan from moving forward.

Missouri’s Credit Rating
Much like the credit rating of individuals, states have similar ratings based on the way they budget and invest taxpayer dollars. This week the state of Missouri received good news as all three rating agencies announced the state has retained its AAA credit rating. Standard and Poor’s Rating Services, Fitch Ratings, and Moody’s Investors Service all indicated Missouri has continued to be an outstanding steward of the state’s tax revenues.

Standard and Poor’s Rating Services wrote, “debt payments are a first-priority budget item in terms of state budgeting” and “the state’s track record regarding its budget management is especially strong.” The end result of maintaining the AAA credit rating is that the state benefits from lower interest rates and long-term investments become more affordable. Missouri is one of only three states with a AAA rating from all three agencies, which is a reminder that the state is a safe place to invest and a strong place to do business. The good credit rating also saves taxpayers millions of dollars in interest each year.

State Contracts
The Missouri General Assembly gave final approval and the Governor signed last month HB 137 that would change the way the state considers businesses or groups to run local license offices. Currently, the Missouri Department of Revenue more favorably considers contract bids for these offices if the bidder promises to pay back some of the profits to the state. The policy is currently being challenged by a lawsuit filed by several license office operators. The legislation would prohibit the Commissioner of the Office of Administration from awarding points on a request for proposal for a contract license office to a bidder for a return-to-the-state provision offer.

Taxation & Revenue
The state will generate millions of dollars in additional revenue under a legislative proposal already signed into law by the governor. HB 384 authorizes a tax amnesty period that will allow Missourians to pay back taxes without penalty. Specifically, it will set up a period between September 1 and November 30 when delinquent taxpayers can pay off their tax debt. The bill will then require those who utilize the amnesty period to comply with all state tax laws for a period of eight years.

SB 18 signed last month by the Governor is meant to protect Missouri businesses from unannounced changes in state tax policy. The new law seeks to end to the process of “notification by audit” by requiring the Department of Revenue to post all tax policy changes on its website; and to notify businesses either by mail or email.

District Visits
During the interim season between legislative sessions, I have been attending several meetings with local organizations and businesses and making constituent visits. This week I had a nice tour of Paramount Apparel in Bourbon. Did you know that the championship apparel you see a team wearing shortly after winning is all made in Bourbon? Very cool fact and a great tour! In the next few weeks I will be meeting with several more local businesses in District 120 including:

  • Steelville Manufacturing – Aug. 31st at 10 AM
  • Meramec Instrument Transformers, Cuba – Sept. 14th at 10 AM
  • Sullivan Hospital – Sept. 21st at 10 AM

If you are a local business or organization and would like me to come visit your location, please email my legislator assistant, Dylan Bryant, at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

Special Events
Discover Nature: Bow Building Class
Location: Twin Pines Conservation Education Center
Date: September 3, 5:00 PM to September 5, 2015, 5:00 PM
If you enjoy working with your hands, you will enjoy this workshop. Participants will study the history of the longbow, bow design and performance. Then you will carve your own longbow from a wooden stave using basic hand tools. Some woodworking skill is helpful. The class starts with an introductory session Thursday from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM and continues Friday and Saturday with sessions that run from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Attendance at ALL sessions is REQUIRED. This program is designed for ages 18 and up. Reservations are required. For further information or to make a reservation, call 573-325-1381.

Hummingbird Banding
Location: Onondaga Cave State Park Visitor Center Date: September 5, 2015 10 AM Researcher Lanny Chambers will visit Onondaga Cave State Park throughout the season to capture, band and study Missouri’s smallest flying machine, the ruby-throated hummingbird. The event is free and open to the public. Onondaga Cave State Park is located seven miles southeast of the Leasburg exit off of Interstate 44 on Highway H. For more on the event, contact the park at 573-245-6576. For more information about Missouri state parks and historic sites, visit mostateparks.com

Jakes Day
Location: Twin Pines Conservation Education Center
Date: Saturday, September 12, 2015, 11:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Jakes stands for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship. Designed for the 6 to 12 year old, this skill-building day is filled with a variety of outdoor activities. Join the NWTF members and Twin Pines staff for sessions on archery, air rifle, hunting safety, outdoor skills and fishing. Lunch will be served. Participants will have a chance in our drawings and don’t forget to pick up your goodie bag before you leave. Pre-registration is strongly advised. For further information or to make a reservation, call 573-325-1381.

Scout Patch Program
Location: Onondaga Cave State Park Date: September 12-13
Scout troops can participate in a two-day event at Onondaga Cave State Park sponsored by Missouri State Parks. Scouts will be introduced to the Missouri State Park and Historic Site Jr. Explorer program and all scouts completing the requirements associated with this event will receive a unique patch to add to their collection. Patch requirements include a number of interesting activities and a service project.

Space is limited and reservations are required. Applications for the program can be found at http://mostateparks.com/event/62319/scout-patch-program and must be completed and signed by the scout leader. Group or individual camping is available. Some fees apply.

For more on the event, contact the park at 573-245-6576.

Facts & Figures
Each week you can find an interesting fact or figure here about Missouri!

At the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, the ice cream cone was invented. An ice cream vendor ran out of cups and asked a waffle vendor to help by rolling up waffles to hold ice cream.

I am committed to serve the constituents of the 120th District, so please feel free to contact my office anytime at 573-751-1688. Your District 120 Capitol office is 201 W Capitol Ave, Rm 115H, Jefferson City, MO 65101. If you wish to unsubscribe from this report, please email Dylan Bryant at dylan.bryant@house.mo.gov

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