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Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Index Fuel Taxes?

January 8, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Index Fuel Taxes?
Please vote below
Please vote below

The new year brought changes to fuel tax rates in many states:

Georgia, North Carolina, Indiana and Florida will each see modest gas tax increases of less than a penny per gallon, based on automatic adjustments in those states, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy.

Two states — New York and West Virginia — will have slight reductions based on automatic adjustments, according to the institute. The Empire State’s rate will fall 0.8 cents per gallon, and the Mountain State’s rate will drop 1 cent per gallon.

The hikes reflect state efforts to balance budgets for road construction and maintenance when Congress hasn’t raised the federal gas tax of 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. State transportation officials and the construction industry contend federal funding hasn’t kept pace with inflation and more fuel-efficient cars. (USA Today)

Missouri’s fuel taxes, however, remain unchanged since 1996. Numerous attempts over the lsat two decades to raise fuel taxes have failed.

From May 2016:

The state legislature did not pass a transportation funding fix during the regular legislative session that ended Friday. One measure that passed in the Senate but died in the House would have asked voters if Missouri’s gas tax should be increased 5.9 cents per gallon to help pay for roads and bridges.

Senator Doug Libla (R-Poplar Bluff) says he worked hard to find a compromise this year in hopes that the proposal would pass.

“The people of the state of Missouri will not be able to vote on whether or not they would like to pay a little more to get better roads and bridges to drive on,” said Libla.

Lawmakers agree transportation funding must increase but they disagree on how to fund it. (MissouriNet)

It seems like some states use indexing to adjust fuel taxes, is this something Missouri should consider?

This poll closes at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Taxpayers Need To Pay To Rebuild Dead Highway Site, Not Stadium

December 26, 2016 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Taxpayers Need To Pay To Rebuild Dead Highway Site, Not Stadium

Like governor-elect Greitens, I’m opposed to tax supported stadiums for millionaire team owners. However, I also recognize there are places where strictly private funding can’t get the job done — public money is needed to seed development.

A proposed MLS stadium would be built here, the site of a long-dead planned highway project
A proposed MLS stadium would be built here, the site of a long-dead planned highway project

Decades ago Missouri & St. Louis used taxpayer money to buy and raze a huge area West of Union Station for a planned highway that’s long dead. This vacant hole has been a huge negative, preventing smaller private investment all around from spreading to improve the tax base and employment.

It took taxpayer money to raze the neighborhood that once existed here — it will take taxpayer money to undo the damage. Regardless of what goes here — public money will be needed.

I haven’t reviewed the MLS stadium proposal, but it could potentially spur other development that would, in time, completely fill in this hole, St. Louis & Missouri needs to look at the long-term pros & cons to investing in this area. No doubt the proposal is heavily tilted in favor of the would-be team owners, that’s why it needs to be scrutinized and revised. But outright rejection is saying this huge dead hole is ok as is for another 2-3 decades.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Strongly Opposed to Change in Missouri Gun Law

September 21, 2016 Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers Strongly Opposed to Change in Missouri Gun Law

A majority of readers in the non-scientific Sunday Poll strongly oppose the changes to Missouri’s gun laws when the legislature overrode Gov Nixon’s veto lsat week. It should be noted the readership here doesn’t represent the region/state.

  • Come Jan. 1, lawful owners of firearms will be able to conceal and carry them anywhere in Missouri, subject to the limitations that already exist — not in the likes of courthouses, jails, polling places or businesses, such as grocery stores, that post “no guns” at their doors.
  • Background checks for buying weapons still apply as required.
  • Only holders of Missouri concealed-carry permits can carry concealed weapons outside of the state, and Illinois still requires visitors to have Illinois permits. The other seven states surrounding Missouri honor its permits. There also are some places in Missouri, such as some school districts, that give more rights to permit holders.
  • Local governments, such as St. Louis, still can prohibit people from carrying weapons openly unless they have concealed-carry permits. (Post-Dispatch)

The expanded ‘Stand Your Ground’ law begins October 14th.

Below are the poll results:

Q: Support or oppose: Missouri law will soon allow people to carry a concealed gun without a permit or training.

  • Strongly support 12 [16.67%]
  • Support 4 [5.56%]
  • Somewhat support 1 [1.39%]
  • Neither oppose or support 1 [1.39%]
  • Somewhat oppose 4 [5.56%]
  • Oppose 2 [2.78%]
  • Strongly oppose 48 [66.67%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

More than 3/4 oppose the change.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Support or Oppose Missouri Eliminating Permits/Training to Conceal Carry?

Please vote below
Please vote below

The Missouri legislature, controlled by Republicans, overrode bills that Governor Nixon, a Democrat, had vetoed earlier in the year. Including one involving guns:

Previously, gun owners could carry a concealed weapon in public by passing a criminal background check and completing a gun safety training class in order to get a permit. 

On the final day of the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers approved a bill eliminating those requirements and allowing someone to carry a concealed firearm in public without a permit.

Nixon vetoed the bill because he said it would allow “individuals to legally carry a concealed firearm even though they have been or would be denied a permit because their background check revealed criminal offenses or caused the sheriff to believe they posed a danger.”

Joining Nixon in opposing the bill were groups representing law enforcement officers around the state, such as the Missouri Police Chiefs Association, along with the state’s four Catholic bishops. 

Proponents have argued that the change is about public safety. The legislation, according to the National Rifle Association, “seeks to expand the fundamental right to self-defense of Missourians and strengthen their ability to protect themselves and their families.” (Kansas City Star)

Some additional specifics:

The expanded right to concealed carry takes effect Jan. 1. Changes in rules for “stand your ground” are effective Oct. 14.

The only section that became law immediately with Wednesday’s override vote says that service personnel whose concealed-carry permits expire while they are on active duty can get renewals without penalty for two months after discharge. (Post-Dispatch)

Below is today’s poll question:

The poll will be open until 8pm tonight — unless I see a spike in traffic that suggests one side or the other is rally people to influence the outcome. If that occurs, the poll will be closed immediately. However, I do expect a higher than usual number of responses. This is a non-scientific poll.

— Steve Patterson

 

A Look at Some of Tuesday’s Primary Results

From Missouri’s primary held Tuesday August 2, 2016:

U.S. Senator

  • (D) In this 4-way race the city & state both picked Jason Kander by a wide margin, with Cori Bush a distant 2nd though better in the city than statewide. Chief Wanna Dubie came in 3rd in the city and statewide.
  • (R) Incumbent Roy Blunt easily defeated three challengers from his own party.
  •  A total of 985,759 Missourians voted in this race, with 67% in the GOP (662,842),  32% in the Democratic (318,742), and the rest in Libertarian & Constitution primary.
  • In the city the total votes are as follows: Democrat (40,596), Republican (6,254), Libertarian (126), Constitution (10)
  • The 46,986 total votes from the city represents just 4,8% of the statewide vote.

Governor

  • (D) Current Attorney General Chris Koster, as expected, easily defeated three primary challengers.
  • (R) One of the most watched races. City & statewide voters picked Eric Greitens, but the order of the other three was different: City: 2) Hanaway 3) Kinder 4) Brunner; State: 2) Brunner 3) Kinder 4) Hanaway
  • This race received the most votes statewide: 1,011,386 — 67.6% in the GOP primary.

Lt Governor

  • (D) Russ Carnahan easily defeated two challengers.
  • (R) Mike Parson received 51.5% of the vote in the 3-way race, Bev Randles was a close 2nd with 43.4%
  • Unlike statewide voters, City voters in the republican primary picked Randles by a slim margin

Secretary of State

  • (D) Robin Smith easily defeated two challengers in both the City and statewide votes
  • (R) Similarly, John Ashcroft easily defeated two challengers in both the City and statewide votes

State Treasurer

  • (D) Statewide & City voters narrowly picked Pat Contreras over challenger Judy Baker.
  • (D) Statewide voters picked  Judy Baker over challenger Pat Contreras, though city voters picked the latter.

Attorney General

  • (D) Statewide & City voters picked Teresa Hensley over Jake Zimmerman
  • (R) Josh Hawley easily defeated Kurt Schaefer in a hotly contested race, statewide & City

State Representative — District 78

  • (D) Incumbent Penny Hubbard received 2,190 votes to Bruce Franks’ 2,106; 50.98% vs 49.02%. Franks hasn’t conceded the race to Hubbard.

State Representative — District 81

  • (D) Former Alderman Alfred Wessels defeated two others for the nomination.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney

  • (D) Kimberly Gardner received 48.58% of the vote in a 4-way race, 2nd place was Mary Carl with 23.6% — Carl was endorsed by outgoing Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce. Since the city is a one-party town, no other party has a candidate in the general election  — Gardner will become the city’s first African-American Circuit Attorney (prosecutor).

St. Louis Sheriff

  • (D) Vernon Betts won the 5-way race with 43.21% of the vote. Joseph Vaccaro was 2nd with 31,38%. Betts will face minimal opposition in the November general election, will become the new sheriff. However, he will not be the first African-American elected to serve as St. Louis’ sheriff. Benjamin Goins was elected sheriff in 1977 (Source).

Final thoughts

Since Missouri voters aren’t registered to a political party, as is the case in so many states, we can vote in whichever primary we decide. Thus, it’s hard to predict if the overwhelming number of voters in the statewide primary means statewide Democratic candidates don’t stand chance. Ballot issues like medical marijuana will also drive voters to the polls.

We can see that highly contested races at the top of the ballot draw more voters than nominally contested and low ballot races.

Though Missouri has voted Republican in presidential races since 2000, the Trump/Pence ticket might not continue that streak. Will the Green Party collect enough signatures to be on the ballot? Will it get enough votes to guarantee ballot access in 2020?

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