NP Spotlight: Volume 9
NP Spotlight is a regular (weekly-ish) feature providing updates on local and statewide legislation and governance, links to significant information, and general news about Northland Progress.
Wednesday, May 24 @ KC Improv in Zona Rosa – Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
Mark your calendars for the next Northland Progress meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, May 24 at the KC Improv in Zona Rosa. The event will be free and open to the public with food and beverages available for purchase. A meet and greet will begin at 6:30 p.m. with the program to begin at 7:00 p.m. The program will include an overview of NP’s mission and goals, review of the 2017 Missouri legislative session, and details on upcoming NP events.
NP will also welcome Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway as a special guest speaker to address the need for ethics reform in Missouri state government. While others in Jefferson City continue drag their feet, Auditor Galloway has demonstrated her commitment to cleaning up corruption in the Capitol.
Despite public education budget woes, MO Senate moving forward on bill providing tax credit scholarships (read: private school vouchers)
Missouri legislators disagree about whether the state can afford to fully fund Missouri’s K-12 schools, but those concerns are apparently not enough to stop Senate Republicans from advancing a bill that would provide tax credits of $25 million for private school funding. SB 313 would allow the funneling of funds from public education to private and for-profit schools with little to no financial or education oversight of the institutions that will receive the funds. While proponents will point out that the tax credits are currently available only for foster children, children with special needs, or children of military parents, this legislative method has been used in other states such as Arizona to “open the door” to full-fledged voucher programs that threaten public school funding. The bill also contains provisions allowing the transfer of students from unaccredited school districts to adjacent districts or private schools.
A final vote is likely to occur in the next couple of days. If passed, the bill will go to the House for further consideration.
Protect your public schools’ funding by contacting your legislators and urging them to vote NO on SB 313.
House rejects proposal to send gas tax increase to voters in 2018
Despite crumbling infrastructure statewide and a 17 cent/gallon gas tax that is among the lowest in the nation, the Missouri House rejected a proposal to allow Missouri voters to decide whether to raise the gas tax in 2018. The proposal was introduced by Rep. Greg Razer (D-Kansas City), who noted that the state’s infrastructure woes should be addressed now before safety concerns give way to disaster. The proposal was voted down 51-103, largely along party lines.
Similarly, the Senate transportation, infrastructure and public safety committee voted against a proposal by Sen. Bill Eigel (R-St. Charles) that would have directed state revenue from sales and use taxes into a state road fund.
With the end of session fast approaching, it seems unlikely that the legislature will address lack of transportation funding before adjourning.