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Sunday Poll: Can A STL-KC Hyperloop Get Built Without The Use Of Eminent Domain?

February 9, 2020 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll, Transportation Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Can A STL-KC Hyperloop Get Built Without The Use Of Eminent Domain?
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The idea of a high speed tube transportation system connecting St. Louis to Kansas City (Missouri, not Kansas) was back in the news recently after getting initial approval the Missouri House:

Although the long-term goal is to connect St. Louis and Kansas City with a pneumatic tube people mover that could transport passengers across the state in 30 minutes, a recent study commissioned by House Speaker Elijah Haahr recommends the state should first build a 15-mile track to test the feasibility of the concept.

The report put the price tag on the test track at $300 million to $500 million. The cost to build a track linking St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City is estimated at $10.4 billion.

Before lawmakers gave their approval, however, Fitzwater proposed an amendment that would ban eminent domain for tube transport systems. (Post-Dispatch)

For those unfamiliar with the term eminent domain

Eminent domain refers to the power of the government to take private property and convert it into public use. The Fifth Amendment provides that the government may only exercise this power if they provide just compensation to the property owners. (Wex legal dictionary)

My one and only Hyperloop poll was in October 2018, and readers were split on Missouri being able to afford such a massive project.

Today’s poll is about the amendment banning the use of eminent domain added to the Hyperloop bill.

As always, today’s poll will close at 8pm. On Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts on Hyperloop and eminent domain.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Wait & See Before Considering Legalizing Recreational Use of Marijuana?

February 2, 2020 Drug Policy, Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Wait & See Before Considering Legalizing Recreational Use of Marijuana?
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The group that backed the successful medical marijuana constitutional amendment in 2018 is looking for a repeat in November 2020. New Approach Missouri plans to gather signatures to place a measure on the November 2020 ballot for legalization  of marijuana for recreational use.

New Approach’s petition would legalize adult use of marijuana for those 21 or older.

The state would tax sales at 15%, with the proceeds going to veterans, highways and drug addiction treatment.

People with marijuana convictions would also be able to apply for sentence reductions and conviction expungement. The petition would require local voter approval to ban dispensaries.

Fiscal analyses of the proposal estimate the program would generate between $93 million and $155 million for state coffers annually.

Running the program would cost the state $21 million initially and then $6 million a year. (Post-Dispatch)

Though the state has awarded licenses for medical marijuana businesses, actual sales won’t begin until the summer.

Today’s poll assumes they gather the required signatures in time.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Split On Eliminating Personal Property Tax

December 18, 2019 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Taxes Comments Off on Readers Split On Eliminating Personal Property Tax
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

A Missouri State Senator is going to try to eliminate personal property taxes by allowing citizens to vote on a constitutional amendment:

State Senator Bill Eigel says it’s time to end the payments. He sponsored the bill, SJR 44, which would ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment prohibiting counties and other political subdivisions from levying or collecting a tax on personal property. (KMOV)

In the recent Sunday Poll readers were split on the idea of eliminating the tax.

Q: Agree or disagree: Missouri should eliminate personal property taxes on vehicles.

  • Strongly agree: 8 [26.67%]
  • Agree: 5 [16.67%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [3.33%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [3.33%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [3.33%]
  • Disagree: 6 [20%]
  • Strongly disagree: 6 [20%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 2 [6.67%]

Sen. Eigel’s bill, SJR44, is the same as SJR5 introduced a year earlier. It never got out of committee.  Eigel represents part of St. Charles County.

I think most realize the folly of the state taking away a source of revenue for Missouri’s counties. Not all counties are equal, some likely depend much more than others on this revenue. Taking it away might mean a reduction in services provided, or an increase in some other tax.

I favor evaluating government services and revenue sources to ensure they’re fair, but I don’t favor constitutionally starving counties to the point they’ve got to substantially reduces services.

Hopefully this new bill also won’t get out of committee.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Eliminate Personal property Taxes?

December 15, 2019 Featured, Missouri, Sunday Poll, Taxes Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Eliminate Personal property Taxes?
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It’s that time of year. Holiday parties, sure. But I’m talking about personal property taxes. Our bill is on our fridge with a calendar reminder. We pay online so we can wait until the last minute.

Our bill is significantly higher than previously because of the newer used car we bought in 2018.

At present, Missouri residents pay a yearly property tax on their vehicles. State Senator Bill Eigel from St. Charles County wants to put an end to that practice.

“I’ve been getting lots of feedback from my constituents, not only in St. Charles but around the St. Louis area, that are talking about the burden placed on households for having to pay for personal property tax on vehicles for a single year,” he said.

When the lawmakers go back to session in Jefferson City on January 8, Eigel said he will be working to get his bill out of committee and passed through the legislature so Missouri residents can vote on it. (Fox2)

This is the subject of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Missouri Is A Solid Red State

December 11, 2019 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Missouri Is A Solid Red State

When I moved to Missouri in 1990 it was a swing state, a bellwether:

The Missouri bellwether is a political phenomenon that notes that the state of Missouri voted for the winner in all but three U.S. Presidential elections from 1904 to 2016 (the exceptions are 1956, 2008 and 2012). While states like Ohio, Nevada, Florida and New Mexico have been arguably stronger indicators of political trends in recent years, Missouri was a consistent swing state throughout the 20th century. Prior to the 2008 elections, Lincoln County, Missouri was said to be the only bellwether county in a bellwether state. (Wikipedia)

Missouri would go red or blue throughout the 20th century. However, the last time Missouri went blue was in 1996. The country went blue in 2008 & 2012, but Missouri stayed red. The 2008 election was very close in Missouri, but widened in 2012 & 2016.

Vintage photo of the former offices of the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners. From my collection

Twentieth century bellwether, 21st century red state.  Here’s the results from the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: The right Democratic nominee could turn Missouri from Red to Blue in the 2020 General Election

  • Strongly agree: 4 [13.79%]
  • Agree: 2 [6.9%]
  • Somewhat agree: 2 [6.9%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 2 [6.9%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [10.34%]
  • Disagree: 6 [20.69%]
  • Strongly disagree: 9 [31.03%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [3.45%]

Most agree with me — regardless of the Democratic nominee a majority of Missouri voters vote for Trump. Illinois, meanwhile, remains a safe blue state.

— Steve Patterson

 

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