Redeeming Quality

If pwjagwdyecn Cynthia Davis has one redeeming quality, it is that she always sends out information about what is going to be on the ballot in the upcoming elections.  With her spin of course, but it is still a valuable service.

Hopefully emails from her will abruptly come to an end in January and I can get on Malan or Cook’s  email list.

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November 4 Ballot Issues

 

To help voters, the ballot issues and candidates in the 19th District are listed below.  In addition, more information is provided, both pros and cons, on the specific ballot issues.

 

Constitutional Amendment No. 1

Proposed by the 94th General Assembly

(First Regular Session) HJR7

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to add a statement that English shall be the language of all governmental meetings at which any pubic business is discussed, decided, or public policy is formulated whether conducted in person or by communication equipment including conference calls, video conferences, or Internet chat or message board?

It is estimated this proposal will have no costs or savings to state or local governmental entities.

__Yes     __No

Additional Information Not on the Ballot

You can click on the following link, where I discussed the English language issue in my Capitol Report 3-20-07

For a full text of the bill, click on this link:  Constitutional Amendment 1.

Constitutional Amendment 4

Proposed by the 94th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SJR 45

 

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to change provisions relating to the financing of stormwater control projects by:

  • limiting availability of grants and loans to public water and sewer districts only;
  • removing the cap on available funding and existing restrictions on disbursements;
  • requiring loan repayments to be used only for stormwater control projects?

It is estimated the cost to state governmental entities is $0 to $236,000 annually.  It is estimated state governmental entities will save approximately $7,500 for each bond issuance.  It is estimated local governmental entities participating in this program may experience savings, however the amount is unknown.

__Yes     __No

Additional Information Not on the Ballot

Proponents:  This proposal originated in the Missouri Department of Resources (DNR).  According to DNR, bond funds for the loan program are available at 2 percent interest.  However, most first-class counties such as St. Charles can get a cheaper interest rate through private financing, so these bonds are not of much use to first-class counties.  If the proposition passes, bond funds can be re-used by the Department as grants, making these funds more available to cities and counties.  In addition, the proposal would make funds available only to public sewer and water districts.

Opponents:  According to the website of the League of Women Voters, opponents argue that these changes would limit the project options of municipalities involved in stormwater control projects. Leftover funds from the repayment of loans currently are returned to General Revenue funds, and this proposition would allow the DNR to keep those funds for future projects.  Therefore, opponents also argue that a designated use fund limits the ability of the Missouri state legislature to redirect monies received from repayment of loans to other purposes.

For a full text of SJR 45, click on this link:  Constitutional Amendment 4

Proposition B (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

Missouri Quality Homecare Council

Shall Missouri law be amended to enable the elderly and Missourians with disabilities to continue living independently in their homes by creating the Missouri Quality Homecare Council to ensure the availability of quality home care services under the Medicaid program by recruiting, training, and stabilizing the home care workforce?

The exact cost of this proposal to state governmental entities is unknown, but it is estimated to exceed $510,560 annually.  Additional costs for training are possible.  Matching federal funds, if available, could reduce state costs.  It is estimated there would be no costs or savings to local governmental entities.

__Yes     __No

Additional Information Not on the Ballot

Proponents:  Missourians for Quality Homecare placed this issue on the ballot.  Proposition B creates an oversight board, Missouri Quality Homecare Council, whose members would be appointed by the Governor. According to this organization, the creation of a board would strengthen and provide for coordination of existing home care services.  In addition, it provides for collective bargaining rights for home care workers and the Service Employees International Union supports the Missouri campaign.

Opponents:  The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is very concerned about the provisions for collective bargaining and the increased opportunity for union organization between the proposed Missouri Quality Homecare Council and the personal care attendants.  If the proposal passes, the Council would recommend wage rates and economic benefits for the attendants to the General Assembly.  The proposition also makes the percentage approval for unionization at 10 percent of the personal care attendants, which is lower than the normal approval rate of 30 percent.  The Chamber is ultimately concerned that the average voter has not received adequate information about the potentially harmful collective bargaining and union organization provisions of the bill, and that the bill is ambiguous as to how these provisions would go into effect.

 

In addition, the Missouri Alliance for Home Care, the trade association representing the interests and concerns of home health agencies and companies, and the Associated Industries of Missouri are very concerned about the ramifications of this proposal, which allows for unionization of workers paid from Medicaid funds, and these two organizations believe that the ballot language is very deceptive.

 

The storyline of this question is very misleading on its surface, expands government involvement in personal healthcare, and is deceitful within the fine print unavailable in the voting booth.

 

The way this proposition is worded, “Shall the elderly and Missourians with disabilities continue living independently in their homes,” is a scare tactic in the first line. This proposition has no bearing on whether these Missourians will be able to continue living in their homes or not.  Furthermore, most people understand that quality home healthcare is far cheaper than any form of institutional care.

 

Proposition B will create more layers of government bureaucracy in the delivery of personal health care needs.  Every program run by government is less efficient and less responsive toward those in need than private competition-based services that attract quality personnel who have the attributes that fit the services offered.  Do we really need another government program to oversee a government program?  The cost to Missouri taxpayers has been lowball “estimated” to run over a half million dollars, PLUS the “additional cost for training” is left totally unanswered.

 

It is deceitful that the labor/unionization issue is left completely out of the ballot question.  Proposition B has little to do with true quality care, but is focused on wages and driving up care costs!  Throughout the proposal are details about how this new government group is to oversee the “workforce” of the industry with all personal care attendants across Missouri becoming “employees” of the Council for certain purposes.  The measure then reclassifies all home care attendants throughout the State as a single unit, even if they only provide personal care for a close relative.  Once established, this singular unit, by only a ten percent (10 percent) vote, will create a union with collective bargaining rights.

 

For a full text of this proposition, click on this link: Proposition B 

 

Proposition C (Proposed by Initiative Petition)

 

Shall Missouri law be amended to require investor-owned electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, biomass and hydropower with the renewable energy sources equaling at least 2% of retail sales by 2011 increasing incrementally to at least 15% by 2021, including at least 2% from solar energy; and restricting to no more than 1% any rate increase to consumers for this renewable energy?

 


The estimated direct cost to state governmental entities is $395,183.  It is estimated there are no direct costs or savings to local governmental entities.  However, indirect costs may be incurred by state and local governmental entities if the proposal results in increased electricity retail rates.

 

__Yes     __No

Additional Information Not on the Ballot

Proponents: Proponents argue that, because 85 percent of the state’s electricity is generated by burning coal, the passage of Proposition C would result in a cleaner environment and less dependence on the use of non-renewable energy sources and foreign oil. In addition, they argue that the increased use of renewable technologies would reduce carbon dioxide emissions and help to alleviate global warming. This proposition only applies to investor-owned utilities such as AmerenUE; it does not apply to rural cooperatives or municipally-owned utilities.

Opponents:  There is no organized opposition to this proposal.  However, an economist might argue that the proposition would artificially create demand and drive up the cost of renewable energy technologies.  It also might rush technologies to the marketplace that are not market ready.  In addition, the proposal moves investor-owned utilities away from the concept of least-cost production.  While all of this may increase the cost to produce energy, the proposition includes a cap on rate increases due to this particular proposition of 1 percent per year. Because this increase is allowed each year, the increase could actually be 2 percent over two years, 3 percent over three years, and so on.  In addition, this increase would not be subject to the normal rate review process by the Public Service Commission.

On first read, Proposition C sounds great.  But how can statutory law force utility producers/providers to meet artificial thresholds for alternative energy sales and not allow the cost for producing that energy to be paid for?  Yes, utility companies operate in tens and hundreds of millions of dollars annually.  But these high dollars are derived from sheer volume of customers.  This mandate is impractical to impose and could very well result in an energy train-wreck similar to California’s disaster of rolling brownouts that occurred several years ago.  (All the same elements will be set in motion that led to the California nightmare.)

Any business with a relatively small margin of profit has special conditions to meet.  Remember, utilities are like McDonald’s; the profits are in the huge customer base. Under this proposition, utilities have only two years to find and replace 2 percent of their product line with alternative sales.  In just another ten years, a utility is required to come up with alternative sources of product for no less than 15 percent of total sales without passing on the majority of that cost to its customers!  This may not be realistic.

 

If Proposition C passes, we may be in for a rough ride.  Quality and reliability can be expected to decline as preventative services for electrical delivery is forced to absorb financial shocks. Should we expect the same amiable customer services from operators and linemen when they are all discouraged with wage cuts?  When future natural disasters hit Missouri, would we be able to expect those caravans of work crews from around the country flooding in to restore power in days instead of weeks if Missouri utilities simply are not able to pay for such services?

 

Alternative energy is a wonderful goal that most of us support with anticipation.  If Proposition C passes, the language still may not survive.  The Legislature may be forced to rewrite it by the complaints and demands of the very folks who voted ‘yes,’ thinking it was a good idea, yet unaware of the economics of energy production/delivery.  On this issue, a ‘no’ vote with a degree of faith in the free market is a much wiser path until a more reasonable plan is put forward.

 For a full text of this proposition, click on this link: Proposition C.

 

Nov. 4 Sample Ballot

 

For President and Vice-President:

  • John S. McCain/Sarah Palin, Republican
  • Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Democratic
  • Bob Barr/Wayne A. Root, Libertarian
  • Chuck Baldwin/Darrell Castle, Constitution
  • Ralph Nader/Matt Gonzalez, Independent

 

For Governor:

  • Kenny Hulshof, Republican
  • Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon, Democratic
  • Andrew W. Finkenstadt, Libertarian
  • Gregory E. Thompson, Constitution

 

For Lieutenant Governor

  • Peter Kinder, Republican
  • Sam Page, Democratic
  • Teddy Fleck, Libertarian
  • James C. Rensing, Constitution

 

For Secretary of State

  • Mitchell ( Mitch) Hubbard, Republican
  • Robin Carnahan, Democratic
  • Wes Upchurch, Libertarian
  • Denise C. Neely, Constitution

 

For State Treasurer

  • Brad Lager, Republican
  • Clint Zweifel, Democratic
  • Rodney D. Farthing, Constitution

 

For Attorney General

  • Mike Gibbons, Republican
  • Chris Koster, Democratic

 

For U.S. Rep. in Congress – 2nd District

  • Todd Akin, Republican
  • William C. (Bill) Haas, Democratic
  • Thomas L. Knapp, Libertarian

 

For U.S. Rep. in Congress – 9th District

  • Blaine Luetkemeyer, Republican
  • Judy Baker, Democratic
  • Tamara A. Millay, Libertarian

 

For State Rep. 19th District

  • Cynthia L. Davis, pwjagwdyecn Republican
  • Debbie Cook, Democratic
  • David J. Malan, Independent

 

For Circuit Judge Circuit No. 11 Div. #1

  • Lou Horwitz, Republican
  • Ted House, Democratic

 

For County Council, Dist. #4

  • Paul Wynn, Republican
  • Russ Craven, Democratic

 

 

Shall Judge Patricia Breckenridge of the Missouri Supreme Court be retained in office?

 

Shall Judge Robert G. Dowd, Jr. of the Eastern District Court of Appeals be retained in office?

 

Shall Judge Kurt S. Odenwald of the Eastern District Court of Appeals be retained in office?

 

Shall Judge Roy L. Richter of the Eastern District Court of Appeals be retained in office?

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