Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gov. Nixon discusses impact of $800 million tax bill with higher education leaders


June 11, 2013
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - During a speech to college and university chancellors and presidents today, Gov. Jay Nixon said House Bill 253 would threaten college affordability by jeopardizing funding for higher education and by repealing the longstanding sales tax exemption on college text books. According to data compiled by the College Board, Missouri now leads the nation in holding down college costs.
"Over the past four years, through some very challenging economic times, we had to make the tough but necessary decisions to keep our budget in balance and continue moving Missouri forward," Gov. Nixonsaid. "We challenged our higher education institutions to do more with less, cut under-performing academic programs, increase accountability, and hold down tuition - and that is exactly what we did.  Today, Missouri leads the nation in holding down college costs, more students are pursuing a post-secondary education than ever before, and this year we will implement a performance-based funding model that rewards schools based on results. At a time when a highly trained workforce is more essential than ever to competing and winning in the global economy, House Bill 253 would undermine our ability to provide the high quality, affordable higher education options Missouri students need and deserve."
House Bill 253 would cost the state more than $800 million when fully implemented, the equivalent of cutting all public support for higher education, closing all of Missouri's prisons, or eliminating the Department of Mental Health.  Such a drastic reduction in state revenue would force deep cuts to vital public services, including funding for higher education and scholarships.  The legislation also repeals Missouri's longstanding sales tax exemption on college text books.
"House Bill 253 poses a serious threat to college quality and affordability in the Show-Me State," said Dr.John Jasinski, the newly elected president of the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) and president of Northwest Missouri State University.  "Other states pursuing this type of unbalanced tax policy are experiencing program erosion and facing spikes in tuition. Our education system is a critical component to economic development and our Missouri students and families should not have to bear the costs of tax policies with unintended consequences.  We look forward to working with our elected representatives and the Governor to continue moving higher education, and for that matter, early childhood, elementary and secondary and higher education, forward in Missouri."
According to an analysis by The College Board, since the 2007-2008 school year, tuition and fees at Missouri's public four-year colleges and universities have increased just 5 percent, the lowest of any other state in the nation.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gov. Nixon to lead Missouri business delegation on trade mission to France, the United Kingdom and Belgium


June 10, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon announced today that he will lead a delegation of Missouri businesses, industry leaders and higher education institutions to France, the United Kingdom and Belgium from June 14 through June 22. 

"The world wants what Missouri makes. By connecting Missouri businesses with customers in foreign markets and attracting new investments from around the globe, we can continue to create good jobs here at home," Gov. Nixon said. "Through strict fiscal discipline and strategic investments in economic development, Missouri's exports have reached record highs, while our unemployment rate has hit a four-year low. Expanding exports is vital to keeping our economy moving forward."
The past two calendar years, 2011 and 2012, were the best record for export sales by Missouri businesses, with a total of $28 billion in Missouri-made goods sold around the world during those two years. 
Missouri exports to Europe totaled more than $2.5 billion in 2012, making up nearly 20 percent of Missouri's export market. In fact, Belgium and the United Kingdom are Missouri's 6th and 7th largest trading partners, respectively. Customers in Belgium bought more than $394 million worth of Missouri goods in 2012.  Customers in the United Kingdom bought more than $351 million worth of Missouri goods in 2012, a 15 percent increase over 2011. France is Missouri's 14th largest trading partner, having purchased $225 million worth of Missouri goods in 2012, a 21 percent increase over 2011.
Joining Gov. Nixon on the delegation will be: First Lady Georganne Nixon; Mike Downing, Acting Director, Department of Economic Development; Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin); and State Senator Ryan McKenna (D-Jefferson City).
The Missouri delegation will also include representatives of Missouri businesses, industry leaders and higher education institutions, including Automated Motion Inc. (AMI); Boeing Company; DRS Technologies; Essex Industries; F-Stop Corporation, Kansas City Area Development Corp; Kansas City International Airport; LMI Aerospace; Mead & Hunt, Inc.; PAS Technologies; Sabreliner; St. Louis Lambert International Airport; St. Louis Regional Chamber; and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
In France, Gov. Nixon will attend the 50th International Paris Air Show, the world's leading aviation and space industry event, and meet with major aerospace industry leaders and foreign investors who have, or are considering, significant investments in Missouri. The Governor will also meet with U.S. Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin, the Confederation of French Industries International, and the American Chamber of Commerce.
"Designing, building and supplying aviation components creates good jobs in southwest Missouri, and throughout the state," said Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard (R-Joplin), a member of the delegation. "As a delegate on a number of successful foreign trade missions, I have seen their value to Missouri businesses and workers firsthand. By strengthening our state's role in the global aerospace industry, we can continue to bring more jobs home to Missouri. We have a well trained, highly-skilled workforce in the Show-Me State, and I look forward to promoting this critical asset to international aviation and aerospace leaders during this trade mission."
"Essex Industries has been a leading supplier of products to the aerospace and defense industry since 1947, based right out of our hometown of St. Louis, Missouri," said Keith Guller, Chief Executive Officer ofEssex Industries, Inc. "The Paris Air Show provides us the opportunity to build upon and strengthen our relationship with customers and clients around the world."
While in France, Gov. Nixon and other members of the delegation also will travel to the Normandy American Cemetery to honor the American soldiers who died in World War II and are buried there, including 232 Missourians.
In the United Kingdom, Gov. Nixon is scheduled to meet with U.K. Trade and Invest, personnel from the U.S. Embassy; Minister Alistair Burt, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; and the British-American Business Group.
"From agriculture to aerospace, the world's top companies can be found in St. Louis," said Steve Johnson, Executive Vice President, Economic Development & Marketing Strategies for the St. Louis Regional Chamber. "This business development mission allows us to build on these relationships so that we can continue to grow the economies of the St. Louis region and Missouri."
In Belgium, Gov. Nixon is scheduled to meet with U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman; personnel from NATO Command; and with members of the American Chamber of Commerce and American European Commission Association.
The Governor, First Lady and members of the delegation will arrive in Paris on Saturday, June 15.  The delegation will travel to the United Kingdom on Wednesday, June 19 and then to Belgium on Thursday, June 20. The delegation will return to the United Kingdom on Friday, June 21 and depart for Missouri on Saturday, June 22. Travel costs for Gov. and Mrs. Nixon will be covered by the Hawthorn Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting economic growth in Missouri. State taxpayer funds will not be used.
"This trade mission will produce meaningful discussions with our European peers leading to enhanced partnerships and global competency for our students and faculty in emerging fields of research, education and technology transfer," said Dr. Gail Hackett, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. "These discussions will help us ensure that our students, faculty and researchers can compete and win in the global economy."
"Kansas City's economy continues to grow, in part because of our ability to attract business from companies around the world," said Robert Marcusse, President and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Corp. "This trade mission gives us the opportunity to promote Kansas City's talented workforce, strong technology sectors, and key manufacturing and logistics assets." 
Gov. Nixon has made creating opportunities for Missouri businesses to sell their products around the globe a top priority of his administration. The Governor led successful trade missions to China (October 2011) and Brazil (April 2012), which resulted in agreements to sell $4.6 billion in Missouri goods to Chinese consumers, and the state's first-ever trade agreement with the State of São Paulo, Brazil's financial capital. 
This past March, Gov. Nixon led a trade mission to the Republic of Korea and the Republic of China (Taiwan) that resulted in agreements to sell a total of $1.9 billion in Missouri goods to Korean and Taiwanese consumers over the next four years.
To continue this momentum, the Governor's Fiscal Year 2014 budget calls for $2.3 million in funding to help businesses identify and access new export opportunities and to expand the state's presence in emerging markets around the world.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

On National Get Outdoors Day, Gov. Nixon launches 100 Missouri Miles Challenge in St. Louis to encourage physical activity in Missouri's great outdoors


June 8, 2013
ST. LOUIS - Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon today were joined by local parks officials as well as fitness and outdoor enthusiasts in Forest Park in St. Louis to launch the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge. The challenge encourages Missourians to complete "100 Missouri Miles" of physical activity by the end of the year, while enjoying the incredible outdoor resources found in the Show-Me State. Missourians taking the challenge can register through www.mo.gov, and track their progress alongside the Governor's and First Lady's. Missourians can also connect with the challenge through Facebook andTwitter.
"From neighborhood greenways to backcountry hiking trails, Missouri's nationally-recognized trails can accommodate a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests," Gov. Nixon said. "This challenge is a great opportunity to enjoy Missouri's proud outdoor heritage, improve your health and - best of all - have fun with family and friends. Whether you run, walk, bike, paddle or roll, I encourage all Missourians to join me and the First Lady as we explore 100 Missouri miles of trails this year."
With some help from a couple young participants, Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon kicked off Gov. Nixon's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge at Forest Park in St. Louis on Saturday, June 8, 2013. The program challenges Missourians to join the Governor and First Lady to complete 100 miles of outdoor activity in 2013 and track their progress at 100MissouriMiles.com.
With some help from a couple young participants, Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon kicked off Gov. Nixon's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge at Forest Park in St. Louis on Saturday, June 8, 2013. The program challenges Missourians to join the Governor and First Lady to complete 100 miles of outdoor activity in 2013 and track their progress at100MissouriMiles.com.
Missouri was recently named the "Best Trails State" by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting our nation's hiking, biking and riding trails. This national award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.
Missouri State Parks offers almost 1,000 miles of managed trails and the state claims more than 500 miles of National Recreation Trails designated by the U.S. Department of Interior. Notable trails include the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears, Santa Fe National Historic Trails, and the Katy Trail, the longest developed rail-trail in the nation.     
The award also recognized Missouri State Parks for a project that began in 2008 to inventory and manage trails, which is being used in a statewide effort to consolidate and coordinate trail data. Missouri State Parks recently released Trails of Missouri State Parks, a publication that provides detailed information on 230 Missouri State Parks trails.   
Earlier this year, Gov. Nixon announced that attendance at Missouri's State Parks increased in 2012, another sign of Missouri's economic recovery. More that 18 million guests visited Missouri's State Parks in 2012, the fourth consecutive increase in attendance since Gov. Nixon took office, reversing a 10-year decline.
Missouri trails and state parks are also important drivers of tourism and economic activity. A recent economic impact study found that visitors to state parks produced an overall economic impact of $1.02 billion and supported more than 14,000 Missouri jobs.  Another study found that the Katy Trail alone generates nearly $18.5 million a year in economic impact for the state, supports 367 jobs, and makes an overall economic impact of $8.2 million to the local trail communities.
The Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge is a partnership with the Missouri State Parks, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Missouri Division of Tourism.

Friday, June 7, 2013

On National Get Outdoors Day, Gov. Nixon launches 100 Missouri Miles Challenge in Springfield to encourage physical activity in Missouri's great outdoors


June 7, 2013
SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Jay Nixon and First Lady Georganne Nixon today were joined by local parks officials as well as fitness and outdoor enthusiasts to launch the Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challengeat David C. Murray Trailhead in Springfield. The challenge encourages Missourians to complete "100 Missouri Miles" of physical activity by the end of the year, while enjoying the incredible outdoor resources found in the Show-Me State. Missourians taking the challenge can register online at mo.gov, and track their progress alongside the Governor's and First Lady's. Missourians can also connect with the challenge through Facebook and Twitter.
"From neighborhood greenways to backcountry hiking trails, Missouri's nationally-recognized trails can accommodate a wide variety of activities for all ages and interests," Gov. Nixon said. "This challenge is a great opportunity to enjoy Missouri's proud outdoor heritage, improve your health and - best of all - have fun with family and friends. Whether you run, walk, bike, paddle or roll, I encourage all Missourians to join me and the First Lady as we explore Missouri's award winning trails this year."
Missouri was recently named the "Best Trails State" by American Trails, a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting our nation's hiking, biking and riding trails. This national award recognizes innovative and successful trail sharing efforts, programs, and systems.
Missouri State Parks offers almost 1,000 miles of managed trails and the state claims more than 500 miles of National Recreation Trails designated by the U.S. Department of Interior. Notable trails include the Lewis and Clark, Trail of Tears, Santa Fe National Historic Trails, and the Katy Trail, the longest developed rail-trail in the nation.     
The award also recognized Missouri State Parks for a project that began in 2008 to inventory and manage trails, which is being used in a statewide effort to consolidate and coordinate trail data. Missouri State Parks recently released Trails of Missouri State Parks, a publication that provides detailed information on 230 Missouri State Parks trails.
Earlier this year, Gov. Nixon announced that attendance at Missouri's State Parks increased in 2012, another sign of Missouri's economic recovery. More that 18 million guests visited Missouri's State Parks in 2012, the fourth consecutive increase in attendance since Gov. Nixon took office, reversing a 10-year decline.
Missouri trails and state parks are also important drivers of tourism and economic activity. A recent economic impact study found that visitors to state parks produced an overall economic impact of $1.02 billion and supported more than 14,000 Missouri jobs.  Another study found that the Katy Trail alone generates nearly $18.5 million a year in economic impact for the state, supports 367 jobs, and makes an overall economic impact of $8.2 million to the local trail communities.
The Governor's 100 Missouri Miles Challenge is a partnership with the Missouri State Parks, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and the Missouri Division of Tourism.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Independent report shows Missouri's graduation rate in the top 10 nationally


June 6, 2013
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Gov. Nixon issued the following statement regarding Education Week's 2013 Diploma's Count report, released today, showing Missouri with the 8th highest graduation rate in the country.  According to the report, over 80 percent of Missouri high school students graduated with a regular diploma in 2010, up 9.5 percent from 2000. This is the second year the state has been in the top 10 and the fourth consecutive year the state's graduation rate has increased.
"Quality public schools are essential to our state's economic competitiveness, and today's report is yet another indication that our smart, strategic investments in education are paying real dividends for Missouri families and communities," Gov. Nixon said. "There is more work to do, but with math and reading scores going up and dropout rates going down, Missouri's public schools are clearly moving in the right direction.  To ensure our workforce is ready to compete and win in the global economy, we must continue to build on this positive momentum, not undermine it with fiscally irresponsible experiments."
Yesterday, Gov. Nixon joined business leaders, educators, administrators and parents to discuss his veto of House Bill 253, which would undermine Missouri's economic competitiveness by jeopardizing funding for public education.
All states, public school districts, and local education agencies are required by the U.S. Department of Education to publicly report comparable high school graduation rates using its four-year adjusted cohort rate. The four-year adjusted cohort rate is a different method than the Diplomas Count report uses to calculate graduation rate.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Initiative Petition Relating to Local Taxes on Cigarettes or Tobacco Products Approved for Circulation for 2014 Ballot


 — Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced that an initiative petition relating to Local Taxes on Cigarettes or Tobacco Products met state standards for circulation.
The official ballot title for the petition reads:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to allow voters to approve or modify local taxes within their city or county on cigarettes or tobacco products, or on the selling of cigarettes or tobacco products, to be used for local health care, local public education, and local job creation programs?

The proposal will result in no direct costs or savings for state and local governmental entities. Actions at the local government level allowed by this proposal could result in unknown indirect costs or savings to state and local governmental entities that cannot be estimated.
The petition, which would amend Article I of the Missouri Constitution, was submitted by Mr. Mark Reading, 2604 Lakeland Dr., Jefferson City, MO 65109 (573) 694-6828.
Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November2014 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts.
Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2014 ballot are due to the secretary of state’s office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 4, 2014.
Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the secretary of state and attorney general. The secretary of state then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words and the state auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the attorney general. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.

Kander Announces Statewide Office Hours


May 09, 2013
— Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced that his office will hold office hour visits in various cities throughout Missouri during the month of May. Office hours will allow Missourians to meet with liaisons from the Secretary of State’s office in their respective regions
“I want to ensure that all Missourians have better access to the services that the Secretary of State’s Office has available,” Kander said. “I encourage all Missourians to visit a nearby location and take advantage of this opportunity.”
Attendees will be able to obtain information about services the Secretary of State’s office provides in Business Services, Securities, Elections, the State Library, State Archives and Record Services, Administrative Rules, and the Safe At Home program, as well as general information about the Secretary of State’s Office. Attendees are encouraged to inquire about the functions of the office and request assistance for matters relevant to the services provided.
Representatives from the Secretary of State’s office will be available at the following locations:

SLPL Schlafly Branch225 N. EuclidSt. LouisMO(314) 367-412014-May10-12pm
SLPL Julia Davis Branch4415 Natural BridgeSt. LouisMO(314) 383-302114-May1-3pm
KCPL Plaza Branch4801 Main StKansas CityMO(816) 701-348114-May10-12pm
Lucile Bluford Branch3050 Prospect AveKansas CityMO(816) 701-348214-May1-3pm
Library Center4653 S CampbellSpringfieldMO(417) 882-071414-May10-12pm
Adair County Library1 Library LaneKirksvilleMO(660) 665-603815-May9-11am
Macon Public Library210 N Rutherford StMaconMO(660) 385-331415-May12-2pm
Little Dixie - Moberly111 N 4th StMoberlyMO(660) 263-442615-May3-5pm
Trails Regional432 N. HoldenWarrensburgMO(660) 747-917721-May9-11am
Booneslick Regional Library219 W. 3rdSedaliaMO(660) 827-711121-May12-2pm
Woodplace Library501 S. OakCaliforniaMO(573) 796-264221-May3-5pm
STL County Library HQ1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd.St. LouisMO(314) 994-330022-May10-12pm
Lewis & Clark Branch9909 Lewis & Clark BlvdSt. LouisMO(314) 994-330022-May1-3pm
Mid-Continent (South)13700 E. 35th St.IndependenceMO(816) 461-205022-May10-12pm
Mid-Continent (Antioch)6060 N. Chestnut Ave.GladstoneMO(816) 454-130622-May1-3pm
Rolla Public Library900 N Pine StRollaMO(573) 364-260423-May10-12pm
James Memorial Library300 W Scioto StSt. JamesMO(573) 265-701123-May1-3pm
Washington Public Library410 Lafayette St.WashingtonMO(636) 390-107028-May9-11am
Jefferson County Library1701 Missouri State RdArnoldMO(636) 296-220428-May12-2pm
St. Charles Library2323 Elm StSt. CharlesMO(636) 723-023228-May3-5pm
Daniel Boone Regional100 W. BroadwayColumbiaMO(573) 443-316129-May10-12pm
Joplin Public Library300 S Main StJoplinMO(417) 623-795330-May10-12pm

Kander Statement on United States Attorney's Voter Registration Fraud Case


May 13, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander's Office)
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander today released the following statement on the United States Attorney's voter registration fraud case against John C. Moretina:
"Anyone who breaks the law to try and change the outcome of an election obviously should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Kander said. "In the plea agreement filed by the U.S. Attorney today, Mr. Moretina admitted to lying to the Kansas City Board of Election Commissioners by giving them a false address to register so he could vote at a polling place in which he wasn't entitled to cast a ballot in the August 2010 Primary Election. My office is committed to the security and fairness of all Missouri elections, and ensuring justice is properly served and our electoral process is protected."

Kander Announces Program on Truman’s Grandview Farm


May 16, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander's Office)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced a program highlighting Truman's years on the farm. The program will be held at the Missouri State Archives, a division of Kander's office, on Thursday, May 23, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. Author Jon Taylor will be speaking about his new book, Truman's Grandview Farm.
The rolling hills of southern Jackson County still shelter the white and green farmhouse Harry S. Truman occupied in the days before his journey to the presidency. Following his father’s death in 1914, the duties of the 600-acre farm fell to then 22 year-old Harry, who bore them until he enlisted to serve in World War I. It was at the farm that his nine-year courtship with Bess Wallace blossomed through the letters the couple exchanged between Grandview and Independence. During the 12 years he worked the farm, Truman also joined the National Guard, honing his negotiating skills that later proved an asset in his political career. Join us for an evening with Jon Taylor as he draws on photographs, letters and even farm receipts, to piece together a picture of the farmer from Missouri whose humble beginnings prepared him to lead the nation.

The Missouri State Archives is the official repository for state documents of permanent historic value, and is located at 600 West Main Street in Jefferson City. All programs at the Archives are free of charge and open to the public, with seating available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Kander statement on conviction of executives behind Petro America scam


 — Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced the conviction of five individuals who played a role in a get-rich-quick scheme that cost thousands of American investors over $10 million with over 300 of those investors from Missouri. The Securities Division of his office originally investigated the case in 2008 and the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Missouri obtained this conviction after a referral from the Securities Division.
“My office is dedicated to preventing Missourians from being targeted by fraudulent companies,” Kander said. “I am glad that our justice system has brought those behind the Petro America scam to justice. Petro America used unrealistic promises to entice unsuspecting investors, encouraging them to invest in a non-existent company. This is a ploy commonly used by fraudsters. I encourage all Missourians to check with my office prior to making investments to ensure the investment and person offering it are registered.”
Investors were sold shares to a bogus company called Petro America. Unknowing to the investors, the CEO and his four other individuals spent this money on personal expenditures such as designer suits, international travel and SUVs. On November 12, 2008 the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office issued a cease and desist order against the company. In addition to misappropriating the investments, the Missouri Securities Division discovered that the CEO of Petro America, Isreal Hawkins, was in fact not registered to offer investments in the state of Missouri.

Initiative Petition Amending Article IX of the Missouri Constitution Open for Public Comment


 —Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced that his office has approved the form of an initiative petition amending Article IX of the Missouri Constitution, and the initiative petition is now open for public comment. The petition (2014-033) was submitted by Todd Jones. Missourians can provide public comment athttp://www.sos.mo.gov/.
The five-day public comment period allows Missourians to offer their observations on the submitted proposal online or by mail or phone. The office has 10 days after the form of the petition is approved to draft the ballot summary language, during which time the office will review all comments.
In his first month in office, Kander instituted the public comment process, which includes posting the proposed initiative petition online as soon as its form is approved, to make the process more accessible and transparent for Missourians.

Initiative Petition Amending Article VIII of the Missouri Constitution Open for Public Comment


 — Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced that his office has approved the form of an initiative petition amending Article VIII of the Missouri Constitution, and the initiative petition is now open for public comment. The petition (2014-032) was submitted by Todd Jones. Missourians can provide public comment athttp://www.sos.mo.gov/.
The five-day public comment period allows Missourians to offer their observations on the submitted proposal online or by mail or phone. The office has 10 days after the form of the petition is approved to draft the ballot summary language, during which time the office will review all comments.
In his first month in office, Kander instituted the public comment process, which includes posting the proposed initiative petition online as soon as its form is approved, to make the process more accessible and transparent for Missourians.

Deadline to request absentee ballot by mail for June 4 special election is May 29


May 24, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander's Office)
Jefferson City, Mo. — Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander today reminded voters that the deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail or fax for the June 4, 2013 Special Election is Wednesday, May 29. Voters may vote absentee in person at their local election authority’s office until 5:00 pm on Monday, June 3.
To receive an absentee ballot by mail, eligible voters must complete an absentee ballot application and mail it or fax it to their local election authority. Applications must be received by the local election authority no later than 5:00 pm on Wednesday, May 29. If requesting an absentee ballot by mail, first time voters must provide a copy of their personal identification in order to vote. Local election authorities will be open for limited hours on Saturday, June 1 for absentee voting. Please contact your local election authority to inquire about their Saturday hours.

The application form and contact information for Missouri's local election authorities are available online atwww.GoVoteMissouri.com. Registered Missouri voters are eligible to vote absentee if they expect to be prevented from going to the polls to vote on Election Day due to:

(1) Absence on Election Day from the jurisdiction of the election authority in which such voter is registered to vote;

(2) Incapacity or confinement due to illness or physical disability, including a person who is primarily responsible for the physical care of someone who is incapacitated or confined due to illness or disability;

(3) Religious belief or practice;

(4) Employment as an election authority, as a member of an election authority, or by an election authority at a location other than such voter’s polling place;

(5) Incarceration provided all qualifications for voting are retained.

Absentee ballots must be received by the local election authority no later than 7:00 pm on Tuesday, June 4.

Initiative Petition Relating to Certain Loans and Lender Licensing Fees Approved for Circulation for 2014 Ballot


May 29, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander's Office)
Jefferson City, Mo.—Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced that an initiative petition relating to Certain Loans and Lender Licensing Fees met state standards for circulation.
The official ballot title for the petition reads:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
    • limit the annual rate of interest, fees, and finance charges for certain loans, and prohibit lenders of such loans from using other transactions to avoid the rate limit; and
    • allow the legislature to set a licensing fee of no less than four hundred dollars a year charged to certain lenders for each of their locations?
No significant estimated costs or savings are expected for state and local governmental entities if this proposal is approved by voters. State governmental entities estimated this proposal could result in increased licensing revenue of at least $200,000 annually.
The petition, which would amend Article III of the Missouri Constitution, was submitted by Mr. Jewell Patek, 331 Madison, Jefferson City, MO 65102 (573) 690-3573.
Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November2014 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor's election from six of the state's eight congressional districts.
Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2014 ballot are due to the secretary of state's office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 4, 2014.
Before circulating petitions, state law requires that groups must first have the form of their petition approved by the secretary of state and attorney general. The secretary of state then prepares a summary statement of no more than 100 words and the state auditor prepares a fiscal impact statement, both of which are subject to the approval of the attorney general. When both statements are approved, they become the official ballot title.

Initiative Petition Amending Section 302 of the Missouri Revised Statutes Open for Public Comment


June 04, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander's Office)
Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced that his office has approved the form of an initiative petition amending Section 302 of the Missouri Revised Statutes, and the initiative petition is now open for public comment. The petition (2014-036) was submitted by Tammy O’Meara. Missourians can provide public comment at http://www.sos.mo.gov/.
The five-day public comment period allows Missourians to offer their observations on the submitted proposal online or by mail or phone. The office has 10 days after the form of the petition is approved to draft the ballot summary language, during which time the office will review all comments.
In his first month in office, Kander instituted the public comment process, which includes posting the proposed initiative petition online as soon as its form is approved, to make the process more accessible and transparent for Missourians.

Gov. Nixon vetoes HB 253; legislation's $800 million price tag would jeopardize vital public services and undermine economic growth



June 5, 2013
(Official Press Release Missouri Governor Jay Nixon's Office)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Gov. Jay Nixon was joined today by area business and community leaders, including The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Bloch School of Management to discuss his veto of House Bill 253, calling the bill's $800 million price tag a fiscally irresponsible experiment that would undermine the state's economic and fiscal health and jeopardize funding for education and vital public services.

"With a price tag of $800 million, this legislation is an ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible experiment that would hurt our economy and jeopardize funding for vital public services," Gov. Nixon said. "Writing a bad check and saying you'll figure out a way to pay for it later might make sense in Washington, DC and some other states, but it's not how we do things in Missouri."

The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City, a membership organization of chief executive officers of the largest corporations and professional partnerships in the Kansas City metropolitan area, had urged the Governor to veto the legislation in a May 21 letter.

"Missouri already has a very competitive tax and regulatory environment," said Donald J. Hall Jr., Chair of The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City. "Missouri must maintain quality public services to remain competitive.  An excellent K-12 education system and world class, affordable colleges and universities that produce a skilled, 21st Century workforce, an efficient transportation infrastructure and reliable public safety are essential to our state's success. The Civic Council believes that HB 253 will result in a significant loss of state general fund revenues necessitating drastic cuts to funding for education (pre-K, K-12 and higher), social services and infrastructure.  That is why we urged Governor Nixon to veto House Bill 253 and applaud him for doing so today."

"Missouri can't afford to put state funding for our public schools in jeopardy with unaffordable and irresponsible tax cuts," saidDr. Carter Ward, Executive Director of the Missouri School Boards' Association. "We need to be making more investments in education, especially in early childhood education, not cutting the revenue available to fund our public schools. Quality public schools are not only important to our children and families, they're also vital to the economic health and vitality of our state.  That is why we applaud Governor Nixon for vetoing this ill-conceived legislation and will work with our elected representatives and other stakeholders to ensure it does not become law."

In a September 2011 report, the State Auditor recognized that Missouri has the seventh-lowest state taxes as a percentage of personal income.  In 2012, the Federation of Tax Administrators ranked Missouri the fifth-lowest in per capita state taxes in the country, representing a lower tax burden than all of our surrounding states.  Moreover, a 2012 report by Ernst & Young and the Council on State Taxation ranked Missouri's effective business tax rate as the eighth-lowest in the country.

The Governor also reiterated his concerns that House Bill 253 raises taxes on Missourians who take prescription medication. Since 1979, Missouri law has exempted prescription drug costs and co-pays from state sales tax.  Language in Section 144.030 of House Bill 253 would repeal this exemption, resulting in an estimated $200 million tax increase on Missourians who take prescription medication.

"Missouri is a low tax state, and we're going to keep it that way," Gov. Nixon said. "This legislation would increase taxes on seniors' prescription drugs, while giving special breaks to lawyers and lobbyists. That's not the way we do things here in the Show-Me State. House Bill 253 costs too much, accomplishes too little, and puts our budget and our economy at risk."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

State Releases May 2013 General Revenue Report



Missouri Office of Administration Doug Nelson
 
June 4, 2013


JEFFERSON CITY, MO - State Budget Director Linda Luebbering announced today that 2013 fiscal year-to-date net general revenue collections increased 10.4 percent compared to 2012, from $6.61 billion last year to $7.30 billion this year.

Net general revenue collections for May 2013 increased by 2.5 percent compared to those for May 2012, from $618.1 million to $633.7 million.

Attorney General Koster announces National Mortgage Settlement payments to Missouri borrowers -- $34 million in payments to benefit more than 20,000 Missourians


                                                                                                  June 4, 2013
                                                                   (Official press release Missouri Chris Kosters office)
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today announced that Missouri borrowers who submitted a valid foreclosure payment claim through the National Mortgage Settlement will receive a payment this month for approximately $1,480.
In February 2012, 49 state attorneys general and the federal government announced the joint state-federal National Mortgage Settlement with the country’s five largest mortgage servicers. Ally (formerly GMAC), Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase, and Wells Fargo participated in the settlement, which set aside $1.5 billion for direct payments to borrowers who lost their homes to foreclosure.
23,707 Missouri borrowers will receive a direct payment under the Settlement, totaling $33,933,493 statewide. To qualify for the direct payments, borrowers had their mortgage serviced by one of the five participating mortgage services, lost their home to foreclosure between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011, and submitted a valid claim form. The settlement administrator, Rust Consulting, will mail valid claim payments from June 10 through June 17.
"While these settlement payments cannot undo a foreclosure, they acknowledge and provide some relief to Missourians for the mortgage servicing abuse they endured," said Koster. "Submitting a claim and accepting a settlement payment does not prevent borrowers from seeking other legal recourse against their mortgage servicer."
A small number of borrowers will receive a check for less than the approximately $1,480 payment in situations where borrowers are divorced or separated and no longer live at the same address. The full per-loan amount will be paid on these loans, but the payment will be evenly split between the borrowers. Others who submitted a claim form but do not have a valid Social Security number on file will be delayed in receiving their payments while tax-related issues are addressed. Two servicers recently provided information on an additional 31,000 borrowers, who were not included in the current distribution, but who will receive a notice in the coming months to submit a payment application.
Every borrower who filed a claim will receive a letter regarding their outcome. Borrowers with questions about their National Mortgage Settlement payment should call settlement administrator Rust Consulting at 1-866-430-8358.