Monday, October 24, 2016
St. Louis Democrat offers suggestions on ballot proposals
As the senior Democrat & ranking member on the House Elections Committee, I cannot urge you enough to use the power of your vote.
I spend hours during session making sure our election statutes are fair for every voter in every zip code and every candidate for every type of election. With an entire chapter of statutes to constantly review and federal mandates to follow, there are always new situations that we can't forsee and then must address each year.
I try hard to do my job well. Please fulfill your responsbility as a citizen and exercise your right of suffrage. Good government requires voters to be engaged. We will know if you voted, not how but if you took the time to show up. Think of the first time voters in this election - those who are 18 years old and those who are new citizens. They TREASURE their vote and I hope you will as well.
I say repeatedly with numerous partisan legislative districts - both Democratic and Republican - many policies are essentially decided for the next two years on Election Day. Be your own lobbyist -----VOTE.
MY RECOMMENDATIONS ON NOVEMBER 8, 2016 STATEWIDE BALLOT MEASURES (see all HERE):
AMENDMENT ONE - DNR SALES TAX
Amendment 1 would reauthorize for an additional 10 years (first authorized in 1984) an existing one-tenth-cent statewide sales and use tax for the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. The tax generates roughly $90 million a year, with half the revenue constitutionally dedicated for soil and water conservation programs and the other half for the operation and maintenance of state parks and historical sites.
I RECOMMEND YES.
AMENDMENT 2 – CAMPAIGN FINANCE
Amendment 2 would add extensive new provisions to the Missouri Constitution reinstituting campaign contribution limits and establishing detailed regulations governing campaign finance in general. Under Amendment 2, individual donors would be constitutionally prohibited from giving a candidate for statewide office, state senate, state representative or judicial office more than $2,600 per election. Individual donors also would be barred from giving more than $25,000 per election to the same political party. However it restricts labor donations and allows unlimited corporate donations.
I RECOMMEND NO.
AMENDMENT 3 – CIGARETTE TAX
Amendment 3 is the first of two measures to increase state tobacco taxes that will appear on the fall ballot. If ratified, it would impose an additional tax of 60 cents per pack, phased in over several years, on all cigarette brands, while immediately levying an additional wholesale fee of 67 cents per pack on certain discount brands.
This exceptionally detailed and misleading initiative is opposed by major, credible organizations: The American Heart Association, American Lung Association in Missouri, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, Tobacco-Free Missouri, Missouri National Education Association, American Federation of Teachers Local 420, Missouri Retired Teachers Association and Public School Personnel, and Missouri Association of Rural Education, Missouri Cures and NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis and the Stowers Institute of Medical Research in Kansas City. It contains unnecessary harmful language regarding abortion services and stem cell research as well as weaken the ban against public money funding private religious schools.
I RECOMMEND NO.
AMENDMENT 4 – SERVICE TAXES
Amendment 4 would constitutionally prohibit the state and local governments from charging sales or use taxes for services that weren’t already subject to such taxes as of Jan. 1, 2015. Missouri’s existing statewide sales tax of 4.225 percent is levied on most goods, but services are largely exempt. The amendment is a preemptive strike against efforts to eliminate the state income tax and replace it with a higher and more broad-based sales tax, a proposal supporters disingenuously refer to as the “fair tax.” It would block future taxes on new industries, such as cannibis.
I RECOMMEND NO.
AMENDMENT 6 – VOTER PHOTO ID
Amendment 6 would grant the Missouri General Assembly the constitutional authority to enact legislation requiring voters to show a government-issued photo identification card in order to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
This is the latest move in a decade-long effort by Republican lawmakers to impose a photo voter identification requirement in Missouri, which in turn has been part of a national GOP campaign to enact strict photo voter ID laws in Republican-controlled states as a means of suppressing the Democratic vote. College students, low-income people, the disabled and the very elderly are the people most likely to be without state-issued photo ID. All of these demographics trend Democratic as voters, which is why Republicans all over the nation have pushed voter photo ID proposals for years. Voter photo ID is being presented as a solution where no problem exists. If passed with a simple majority, it would make it more difficult for some of our most vulnerable and transient citizens to vote.
WE KNOW THAT IT WILL DISENFRANCHISE OVER 220,000 CURRENT MISSOURI VOTERS - WHO WILL NOT BE ABLE TO OBTAIN THE DOCUMENTS NECESSARY FOR A STATE ISSUED DRIVERS OR NON-DRIVERS LICENSE .
I RECOMMEND NO.
PROPOSITION A - TOBACCO TAX
Proposition A is the second to two measures to increase state tobacco taxes that will appear on the fall ballot. If approved, Proposition A would change state law to impose an additional tax on cigarettes of 23 cents per pack, phased in over several years, and immediately add another tax of 5 percent of the wholesale price on other tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco and cigars.
The new taxes would generate an estimated $95 million to $103 million a year in additional revenue and purports to earmark the money for transportation infrastructure. Under the Missouri Constitution and state Supreme Court precedent, however, statutory earmarks of state revenue are unenforceable. As a result, the General Assembly would retain the constitutional authority to ignore the earmark and appropriate the money for other purposes, if it so chose. I BELIEVE THAT FUEL, NOT CIGARETTE TAXES SHOULD FUND TRANSPORTATION/HIGHWAY/BRIDGE COSTS.
I RECOMMEND NO.
MAKE YOUR NOVEMBER 8TH VOTING PLAN
Missouri registered voters can view their polling HERE. If you can't vote in person on Election Day (polls will be open 6AM TO 7PM), then please vote absentee.
St. Louis County Board of Elections SATELLITE OFFICE - 3232 Laclede Station Road (south of Manchester in the Deer Creek Shopping Complex) - weekdays 8am to 4:30pm through November 4th and Saturdays - October 29th & November 5th, 9am to 1pm. If you wish to apply for an Absentee ballot by mail - Click this link. It must be received at the St. Louis County Board of Elections by 5pm Wednesday November 2nd.
HAVE QUESTIONS about VOTING? Contact me or my legislative office (573.751.0100) and we will help.
I can't urge you enough...PLEASE use your VOTE.
See you on Election Day,