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Senate committee pares back incentive
package to focus on Ford effort
Governor's office urges committee to only look at automotive provisions.


David A. Lieb
The Associated Press
July 1, 2010


Jefferson City -- A Senate committee pared back an incentive package Wednesday to focus solely on Missouri's
automotive industry, shedding other proposed tax breaks at the request of Gov. Jay Nixon's administration.


The committee's action set the framework for a scheduled Senate debate today on automaker incentives aimed
primarily at Ford Motor Co.'s assembly plant near Kansas City. Lawmakers also are considering a moneysaving
overhaul of Missouri's retirement system.


The Missouri Constitution gives the governor the authority to set the scope of special sessions, and Nixon limited
the agenda to the automaker and retirement bills. Yet the House on Tuesday passed an expanded bill offering
tax breaks to computer data storage centers, elderly homeowners and a variety of transportation-related
manufacturers.


That House version was heard Wednesday by the Senate Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government
Committee.


Panel chairman John Griesheimer, R-Washington, said he received a phone call shortly before the meeting from
Nixon's staff urging him to scale back the legislation to cover only the automotive provisions in compliance with
Nixon's call for the special session.


"The bottom line here is, as much as I want and desire the data center language to be in the bill, this committee
is bound by constitutional law, and right now, we can only go as far as what the governor's call is," Griesheimer
said.


Nixon says the automotive incentives are essential because Ford is nearing a decision on where to make its next
generation of vehicles, and labor union leaders say the Claycomo plant is due to stop making its current models
of sport utility vehicles by the end of next year.



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Those pushing for incentives for computer data centers say their cause is equally urgent, and they plan to
continue pressing Nixon to expand the agenda for the special session.




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Missouri Senate panel scales back
legislation to only tax incentives for
automakers
By JASON NOBLE
The Star‘s Jefferson City correspondent
Posted on Wed, Jun. 30, 2010


JEFFERSON CITY | A Missouri Senate committee Wednesday scaled back economic-development legislation to
focus only on tax incentives for automakers.


The House this week had loaded up the bill with tax breaks unrelated to automakers, expanding it beyond Gov.
Jay Nixon‘s call for a special session.


Senate jobs committee Chairman John Griesheimer, a Washington Republican, said he favored House-backed
incentives for computer data centers, but believed additional measures rendered the bill unconstitutional and
jeopardized the success of incentives intended for Ford Motor Co.


The bill now poised for debate on the Senate floor includes only a break on withholding taxes for automakers
and suppliers that reinvest in Missouri plants and retain or add employees. The incentive is capped at $15 million
a year for 10 years.


The bill‘s objective is to save jobs and spur redevelopment of Ford‘s Claycomo plant, which is expected to lose a
production line next year.


Another Senate committee Wednesday took up a House bill reforming the state retirement system. The measure
would raise the retirement age and require employees to contribute to their pensions. It is intended to create
savings that would offset the cost of the automotive incentives.


The panel addressed a central disagreement between the House and Senate by amending the House‘s version
of the bill to mirror the Senate‘s. That set the stage for a conference committee in which lawmakers from both
chambers will negotiate a compromise.


The next step for the pension legislation, however, is another committee hearing and then floor debate.




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Mo. governor signs bill merging state
patrols
Jun 30, 3:43 PM EDT


OSAGE BEACH, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri's Highway Patrol and Water Patrol have become one.


Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation Wednesday that makes the state Water Patrol a division of the Highway
Patrol. The governor said combining the two agencies will improve law enforcement coverage and is expected
eventually to save the state about $3 million per year. He said the number of patrol officers in either agency
would not be reduced.


"These are two of the finest and most responsive law enforcement agencies in the country and now, as one
unified patrol force, they will be able to do an even better job protecting the people of Missouri," Nixon said.


The two agencies will be combined starting next year.


The governor said the merger is an example of how Missouri officials are "rethinking" the operations of state
government while confronting budget problems. The governor cut about $900 million from the budget for fiscal
year that ended Wednesday. For the annual budget taking effect Thursday, Nixon already has trimmed about
$300 million in state general revenue expenses.


Some local law officers have expressed fears that more duties could get passed to local sheriffs as a result of
the state patrol merger. The sheriff's department in Camden County - which borders much of the Lake of the
Ozarks - has said it already is struggling to keep officers on the road and does not have the capacity to respond
to emergencies on the water.


The legislation also allows state lawmakers to get their own keys to the Capitol dome, which is an exclusive
tourist site that is closed to the general public. Lawmakers currently can borrow one of a limited number of keys
to take guests to the dome.


Governors twice have vetoed bills granting dome keys to lawmakers. But this year Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape
Girardeau, inserted the provision into numerous bills to try to ensure one of them would be signed into law.




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No work, and now no safety net
Posted on Wed, Jun. 30, 2010
By DIANE STAFFORD
The Kansas City Star


In just one week and in just one state — last week in Missouri — more than 8,300 people fell through the
unemployment insurance safety net.


Actually, their nets were removed.


The result: Those who have lost jobless benefits already are turning in greater numbers to food pantries and
other emergency aid programs, both government and nonprofit.


―We‘re hearing from more people needing assistance,‖ said Ron Howard, spokesman for the United Way of
Greater Kansas City. ―Our 2-1-1 call center is seeing an increase in calls, especially from first-time callers.


―Without a doubt, the loss of that unemployment check is a contributing factor.‖


Loss of jobs and jobless benefits also is contributing to a rise in applications for Social Security disability
payments from unsuccessful job hunters.


That search for subsistence funds revved up last month after the U.S. Senate rejected a bill that would have
included more than $35 billion to fund another extension of emergency unemployment assistance.


Since 2008, after the nation slipped into its worst recession in 70 years, the government has authorized four
―tiers‖ of emergency federal help for the jobless. Some workers may be eligible for as many as 99 weeks of
unemployment benefits.


But recent policy decisions are tilting in favor of federal deficit control. On Tuesday, the U.S. House rejected a bill
focused on extending unemployment benefits. And for the third time in as many weeks, Republicans in the
Senate on Wednesday successfully filibustered a bill to extend them. As a result, about 200,000 people a week
around the country are likely to lose their jobless benefits.


Today, the House plans to vote again on extending benefits, but the Senate‘s action likely renders it a futile
gesture as Congress gets ready to depart for its Fourth of of July recess.



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Without federal funds to keep the emergency programs going, recipients in Missouri and many other states are
barred from making new claims after they run out of their current benefits round.


In Kansas, state law allows a limited continuation of extended state jobless benefits, but those state extensions
are only good for up to 13 weeks.


Nationally, if recipients don‘t find work before their existing eligibility ends, an estimated 8.2 million will run out of
unemployment benefits this year.


Eddie Gleason, who lost his job as a transportation coordinator at Ceva Logistics in December 2007, is frank
about having exhausted his jobless benefits: ―The indignities are many.‖


Since Gleason‘s unemployment benefits eligibility ended in February, the 55-year-old Kansas Citian said he‘s
gone to food pantries, sold ―everything of value that I possessed,‖ and counts on his adult children‘s help.


He said it cut him deeply to hear on the news that a congressman referred to the long-term unemployed as
―hobos,‖ citing the belief that jobless benefits encourage idleness.


Many congressional Republicans — even those who voted for previous emergency benefits — as well as
conservative economists believe that successive rounds of extended benefits encourage people to stay out of
work longer.


Gleason disagrees.


―I can honestly say I never foresaw myself in this situation,‖ said Gleason who, despite suffering a stroke and
having heart surgery still has tried to land work. ―I‘m not bitter. Business is business. I understand why
corporations would shy away from me.‖


He and about 6.8 million of the nation‘s 15 million unemployed have been out of work for six months or more (the
official definition of long-term unemployment), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the highest
proportion of long-term unemployment on record, according to the data series that dates to 1948.


―What are they going to do now?‖ asked Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, which
estimates that more than 1.25 million of the nation‘s jobless already have exhausted the benefits tier due them.



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Job market reality is that employers now provide about 7.8 million fewer jobs than when the recession began in
December 2007.


Anemic job growth since then means that the United States is about 10.7 million jobs short of what it needs to
employ those who want to work, and there are about five job hunters for every posted opening.


School teacher Susan Waldron, out of work for more than a year, has found a temporary $10-an-hour job as a
canvasser for a candidate in a Missouri political race, but she said it‘s the kindness of friends and a local church
that helps her survive.


She‘s getting electric and gas bill help through a federal agency, and she got toilet paper, dish soap and
toothpaste — items that food stamps don‘t cover — plus some food from a church.


Her 80-year-old parents are helping her pay her $525-a-month rent, and friends have filled her car with gas, paid
her phone bill and bought Target and QuikTrip gift cards for her.


―I have made $65 so far selling my belongings and furniture,‖ Waldron said, adding that ―will go towards Time
Warner to keep my computer running.‖ She wants to keep the computer particularly for job applications so she
doesn‘t have to drive to use computers in a public library.


She also got a poverty discount card to be treated for her osteoporosis at Truman Medical Center, Kansas City‘s
publicly funded hospital.


Therein lies one effect of ending unemployment insurance programs: Sooner or later, many of the unemployed
end up relying on public assistance in some way, whether it‘s for subsidized health care, food or, in limited
cases, welfare aid to families with dependent children.


Advocates for continuing unemployment benefits note that the Congressional Budget Office has ranked
unemployment insurance as the most effective form of economic stimulus.


―It gets money into the hands of the people who are most likely to spend it,‖ Shierholz said. ―It goes straight into
their local economies when they use it to pay for their food and housing.‖


One study indicates that $10 billion of unemployment insurance spending creates or saves 100,000 jobs.


―Do the math,‖ Shierholz said. ―Failure to approve the $35.5 billion unemployment program translates into
350,000 jobs that aren‘t happening. Whatever your feelings about unemployment insurance, you can‘t ignore
that there‘s a drain on public assistance in other ways.‖


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The prevailing political wind this time, though, blew in favor of federal debt controls.


―The American people know it isn‘t right to simply add the cost of this spending to our already-overdrawn
national credit card,‖ said Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee,
after the House rejection on Tuesday.


By the numbers
200,000 people will exhaust their current benefits eligibility each week without an emergency extension of
federal unemployment benefits.


8.2 million people will run out of benefits this year.


99* is the current maximum number of weeks of jobless benefits for any eligible recipient.


JOBLESS RATE HOLDS STEADY
The Kansas City area‘s jobless rate was 8.3 percent in May, the same as in April but a slight improvement from
May 2009. | A12




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Tanning salon owners hit by new tan tax
BY KAVITA KUMAR • kkumar@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8017 | Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2010 6:45 am |


St. Louis tanning salon owners are fuming over a 10 percent federal tanning tax that takes effect today.


While feeling unfairly targeted, they also are crossing their fingers that the tax — which most of them will pass
along to customers — won't deter people from using their services. But just in case, some salons are offering
special promotions, while others are pushing spray-on tans, which are exempt from the tax.


The stakes are high for an industry that is already on the skids from the recession and mounting warnings about
the health risks associated with indoor tanning. Now some indoor tanning experts worry that the tan tax might be
the last straw that pushes independent tanning studios out of business.


Derek Stratman, who owns City Tan in downtown St. Louis, had been telling customers about the new tax for the
last month and encouraged them to renew their packages before today.


"Everybody looks at me like I'm the bad guy," he said. "But it's not me. It's the government. … I tell them I don't
have any choice. The government has handcuffed me."


The new tax on indoor tanning services was included in the federal health care bill. It is expected to raise $2.7
billion over 10 years. Health advocates hope the tax will deter consumers from using indoor tanning beds, which
has been linked to skin cancer, in a similar vein as 'sin" taxes levied on alcohol and cigarettes.


But the tanning industry counters that the tax is unfair and notes that it was added to the bill after the cosmetic
industry successfully fought off a proposed 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic procedures, the so-called Bo-Tax.


"The cosmetic industry has so much more money to lobby against this," said Todd Beckman, who runs 70-plus
tanning salon franchises through Fenton-based The Tan Co.


The tanning industry, by comparison, is a fragmented group without the same financial influence behind it, he
said. "It's really not fair. It's an unfair tax to small businesspeople."


The estimated 18,000 tanning salons nationwide are mostly small mom-and-pop shops that have already
suffered during the recession.




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"We depend on disposable income," said John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association,
which has been running a campaign to get rid of the tax through repealtantax.com. "These businesses have had
a rough go during the recession. … In the last few years, we've seen quite a few businesses close."


Part of the problem was an oversaturation of tanning salons from an expansion boom in the late 1990s,
Overstreet said. Publicity about health risks related to indoor tanning with ultraviolet light hasn't helped, either.
Add to that the 10 percent tan tax, and some tanning salons already on the edge financially might be pushed out
of business, Overstreet said.


Michael Pardon owns three Urban Tan salons — two in St. Louis and one that opened a couple of months ago in
Chesterfield. He said the tan tax couldn't come at a more difficult time for him. He had a slow spring, which is
usually one of the biggest seasons for tanning salons.


"This year I'm definitely feeling it," he said of the recession. "It hurts. "….        . The job losses and everything is just
now hitting the mainstream."


Indoor tanning is not an expensive service. The average cost for an indoor tanning session that can last between
15 and 20 minutes is generally $5 to $7, according to the research firm IBISWorld.


"You figure on a $20-a-month membership, it's only $2 more," Pardon said of the tax.


Still, some customers have been grumbling about the tax after seeing signs in his stores about it.


"I think most people who tan are still going to tan," he said. "Where else are they going to go? They can't go to
another salon and not pay the tax. Even if they go down the road, they are still going to pay the 10 percent
unless they stop tanning altogether."


In response to the tax, Pardon said he has been pushing more spray-on tanning, which won't be subject to the
tax.


The Tan Co., which renews its memberships on the 15th of every month, sent out letters to its customers
Wednesday to notify them of the new tax. Beckman hopes his customers will keep in mind that he hasn't raised
prices in more than 10 years when considering whether the 10 percent tax is worth it.


As an added incentive, the Tan Co. will start giving free upgrades for higher-level tanning beds to its members
starting today for the next month or two.




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"I guess you're always worried about losing customers, but we'll make sure we do the best job we can to keep
them happy," Beckman said.


Stratman does not plan to pass along the 10 percent tax to customers until after the first month in an attempt to
persuade customers to stay with him. Still, he is worried that some of his clients, most of whom are loft dwellers
and downtown workers, might drive farther away to go to a cheaper salon.


But Connor Murray, a hairstylist who works next door to City Tan, doesn't plan to scale back his once-a-week
indoor tanning habit. Murray has been tanning regularly for about three years, since he was 16.


While he was not pleased to learn of the tax, Murray said he thinks tanning is worth it.


"I think of it as my happy hour after work," he said. "It is a relaxation time for me. I stop for 10 or 15 minutes and
let everything from the day sink in."




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Democrats considering 4 cities for 2012
convention
By PHILIP ELLIOTT
Associated Press Writer
Jun 30, 11:51 PM EDT


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Recognizing that President Barack Obama faces serious challenges in the Midwest he
carried not two years ago, the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday picked three heartland cities and
just one in the Republican-friendly South to consider for its 2012 nominating convention.


The cities are Cleveland, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Charlotte, N.C.


A presidential nominating convention brings millions of dollars and intense attention to its host city as well as
political good will for the party itself. Obama won Ohio, Minnesota and North Carolina in his 2008 race against
Republican John McCain, who won Missouri.


With Democrats competing for Senate seats in Ohio and Missouri, the announcement was likely to energize the
Democratic base in those states ahead of the crucial midterm elections this year. Even so, putting states in play
for possibly holding the convention was not a guarantee for wins there in 2012; McCain held his nominating
convention in Minnesota, yet lost the state.


DNC Chairman Tim Kaine announced the finalists in a message to supporters and hinted that Democrats would
not assume they would control the White House for two consecutive terms.


"The president, who won the White House in a landslide, now recognizes that his re-election hangs in the
balance as an economy flails, joblessness remains high and Republican attacks on him deal political blows,"
Kaine wrote.


Democrats will nominate their 2012 presidential candidate the week of Sept. 3. The week before that,
Republicans will nominate their candidate in Tampa, Fla., a city in a state that will be central to either party's bid
for the White House.


Democratic delegates gathered in Denver in 2008 to nominate Obama and in Boston in 2004 to nominate Sen.
John Kerry, D-Mass.


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The nominating conventions, with their pro-party message-making that does little to influence undecided voters,
are an economic boon to host cities. In general, the conventions are media events more than electoral ones.
Seldom are there surprises; rarely are their shocks.


Democrats had hoped, correctly, that scheduling their 2008 convention in Denver would help their prospects in
the Mountain West. Republicans had hoped their Minnesota convention would bolster fellow party members,
such as Tim Pawlenty, who occupied the governor's mansion and might have been a GOP vice president.


Now Pawlenty is weighing his own White House bid.




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Missourians still have a week, until July 7,
to register to vote
By Jo Mannies, Beacon Political Reporter
Posted 11:44 am Wed., 06.30.10
Although absentee balloting already is underway for the Aug. 3 election, Missourians still have a week to register
to vote. That deadline is July 7, a week from today.


People seeking to register should contact their local county clerk's office, Board of Election Commissioners (in
the case of St. Louis and St. Louis County), or the Missouri Secretary of State's toll-free number, 1-800-NOW-
VOTE (1-800-669-8683).


Or they can check out the Missouri Secretary of State's registration web site, at http://www.govotemissouri.com/ .


So far, absentee-ballot interest appears to be light.


In St. Louis County, the state's largest voting jurisdiction, election officials reported less than 200 absentee
ballots have been cast at the Election Board so far, since balloting began June 22. As of the latest count, the
county has received about 5,400 requests for mail-in absentee ballots, most of them from disabled or members
of the military.




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Angry veterans speak out over VA
contaminations
By: Jeff Small


KSDK -- Veterans possibly exposed to hepatitis and HIV are getting tested and speaking out.


Tuesday 1800 veterans learned they may have been infected with viral infections by dirty dental tools at VA
dental clinic at the John Cochran Hospital.


The department of veteran's affairs mailed letters to veterans who received dental treatment at the VA clinic
during a 13-month period ending in March.


Officials said proper procedures were not followed which left some dental equipment not cleaned correctly and
not sanitized. One disabled Army veteran who received the letter said she is nervous and angry.


"Someone was not doing their job or we would not be exposed to this because we have served our country,"
said veteran Kay Sack.


Wednesday, United States Senators Claire Mccaskill, Kit Bond and Dick Durbin sent a letter to the secretary of
veteran's affairs outlining their disappointment and deep concern over the incident.




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All claim partial victory in gun ruling
By BRENT ENGEL
Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted Jun 30, 2010 @ 11:00 PM


Palmyra, MO — Each side in the gun control debate agrees that the Supreme Court‘s latest ruling hardly is the
end of the matter.
  While the 5-to-4 decision upheld the Second Amendment‘s guarantee of a right to bear arms, it did not
specifically rule on the original law that prompted the case.
  Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said the right to self-defense was constitutionally protected at all levels of
government, but made clear that the ruling should not be taken as a green light to get rid of laws that ban
possession of guns by felons or the mentally ill, carrying guns in schools and government buildings, or
regulations on gun sales.
 Butch Herold of Butch‘s Sports World in Palmyra just returned from a small business conference in
Washington, D.C., where the topics included everything from gun laws to medical costs.
 Herold doesn‘t think the Supreme Court ruling will have much of an impact.
  ―The Second Amendment is what it is,‖ he said. ―All the laws that pertain to guns only effect the innocent
people.‖
  Ladd Everitt, director of communications for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, said the ruling was ―not a win,‖
but ―there‘s not much we can point to and go crazy over.‖
 ―We were kind of pleasantly surprised at how restrained it was,‖ Everitt said.
  The ruling came out of laws in Chicago and a suburb, Oak Park, Ill. Four homeowners challenged Chicago‘s
total ban on handguns, saying they needed weapons for protection.
  The decision ―gives those people their Second Amendment right,‖ said Nick Yocco of Don‘s Gun Shop in Troy.
―That‘s an improvement over what they had.‖
  However, the majority opinion addressed the Second Amendment‘s reach from beyond the federal level to
state and local jurisdictions. The laws themselves were sent back to lower courts for a decision on whether they
meet constitutional muster.
 Everitt emphasized that the ruling ―doesn‘t imperil every law‖ that restricts or bans gun ownership.
 Joining Alito in the majority were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony M.
Kennedy and Clarence Thomas.
 Dissenters were Justices John Paul Stevens, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
They argued the scope of the Second Amendment had only limited application to the Chicago law.
 Stevens wrote that ―firearms have a fundamentally ambivalent relationship to liberty.‖
  The Bill of Rights originally covered only the powers of the federal government, but the rights were extended to
the states after the Civil War under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment.




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Mo. DNR closes 6 beaches for bacteria,
high water
Jun 30, 4:48 PM EDT


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Missouri is closing four state swimming beaches after finding high levels of E.
coli bacteria.


The Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday the beaches are located at Finger Lakes, Long Branch,
Thousand Hills and Wakonda state parks. Finger Lakes is in Boone County, Long Branch is in Macon County
and Thousand Hills is in Adair County. Wakonda is in Lewis County.


Of three beaches that had been closed by high water, the agency said those at Mark Twain and Lewis and Clark
parks will remain closed but the beach at Harry Truman park will reopen Thursday.


Water samples for the E. coli tests were taken Monday.


State beaches: http://www.mostateparks.com/beaches/index.asp




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Regional sewer system sought at Lake of
the Ozarks
Project's cost, scope make it unlikely to launch in near future.

July 1, 2010
Alan Scher Zagier
The Associated Press


Sunrise Beach -- A flap over E. coli tests and state oversight has focused renewed attention on water quality at
Lake of the Ozarks. Some area residents hope to parlay that interest into support for a regional sewer system to
replace thousands of aging septic tanks.


The hurdles are significant -- not the least of which is raising a minimum of $150 million for the project.


"This will take 10 to 15, 20 years to put into place all over the lake," said Jim Rogers, a local real estate agent.
"We're not even close to getting started."


A group known as the Four County Wastewater Task Force held its first meeting in May to discuss the project.
Rogers and other supporters say the first order of business is enlisting support from elected leaders in the
surrounding lake counties of Benton, Camden, Miller and Morgan.


A lack of political will stymied similar calls for a centralized sewer system when a Kansas City engineering firm
recommended one more than a decade ago. According to reports in the Kansas City Star, at least five other
studies in the past three decades linked lake pollution to potential human health risks.


The concerns reached a crescendo last summer, when the state Department of Natural Resources delayed by
one month the public release of water quality test results that showed elevated levels of E. coli bacteria in the
lake. The agency also delayed closing a state park beach with high bacteria counts.


The outcry created a political shake-up in the department and in the office of Gov. Jay Nixon. While supporters
of a regional sewer system have acknowledged that the issue predates the E. coli scandal, they also realize it
has created an opportunity to capitalize on the attention.


"There are a lot of people energized about this all over the state," said Warren Witt, hydro operations manager
for AmerenUE. The St. Louis-based utility operates its Osage power plant at the lake.

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Not all lake boosters are as adamant about the need for a regional sewer system as Rogers and other members
of the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance, a citizens' group created in 2006 to promote and protect a lake
with more shoreline than coastal California.


In February, business leaders created their own entity: Citizens for the Preservation of Lake of the Ozarks. Witt,
who serves on the LOWA board but is also a member of the newer group, said the business leaders' focus is
combating negative publicity from the E. coli concerns while assuring lake visitors that their watery playground
remains healthy.


"We do not have a cesspool here," he said, describing the preservation group's message. "We have a very clean
lake."


The business group has not taken a stance on the proposed regional sewer system -- much to the chagrin of
some LOWA members hoping for more visible leadership. But that doesn't mean members are opposed to the
plan, said group leader Jim Divincen.


"Anything that we can do to provide a clean and healthy lake for our residents and visitors would be a real
positive," said Divincen, executive director of the Tri-County Lodging Association.


For now, sewage disposal at the lake remains a hodgepodge of municipal plants (including systems in
Camdenton, Gravois Mills, Lake Ozark and Osage Beach); smaller wastewater treatment plants owned by bars,
hotels, restaurants and resorts; and septic systems.


One possible solution is a "hub and spoke" sewer connection that would incorporate existing city and county
treatment plants into a centralized system. But the lake's craggy terrain would still pose the technical problem of
having to pump sewage uphill.


And the transient nature of the lake, with seasonal tourists and weekend visitors, means a wide variation in
demands on any central system.


Witt said the negative attention on the lake should serve as a wake-up call. He said the time to start planning is
now.


Just don't hope for any quick fixes, Witt advised lake residents.


"This issue didn't start yesterday. It's been going on for many years. It's been studied many times," he said.



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"Don't get disheartened if you don't see a regional sewer system at your house next year."




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State hasn't paid share of crime lab in
Springfield
As a result, city couldn't pay off bond by the fiscal year's end.

Kathryn Wall
News-Leader
July 1, 2010


The city of Springfield hoped to be able to pay off a nearly $2 million bond by Wednesday, but staff said that
didn't happen because the state hasn't paid its part.


The city has been waiting for payments from the state for the Missouri Highway Patrol Crime Lab in Springfield.
A contract between the two set up a monthly lease schedule and the eventual purchase of the facility.


The city hasn't received money for either.


Per the contract, the city anticipated the state would pay a monthly lease of more than $22,000 and would
purchase the building for $1.6 million by the end of the 2010 fiscal year.


On top of a local bond the city shared with Greene County, the city secured a $1.825 million state bond for the
lab project.


The city planned to use the money promised by the state to pay off the state bond before the end of the fiscal
year, which was Wednesday.


City Finance Director Mary Mannix-Decker confirmed that the state has yet to make any kind of payment on the
building.


City Manager Greg Burris said the state cited an issue with trying to cut a check in their computer system
because of the end of the fiscal year.


"They told us they wouldn't be able to cut a check until July 8 or 9," Burris said.


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City staff hoped to use the state money to pay off the bond early to save on interest. The bond itself doesn't have
to be paid in full until 2018.


But for every week the bond isn't paid off, another $1,500 in interest gets tacked on the city's bill.


The state has also not paid the monthly lease.


"They've been waiting to get the environmental testing done," Burris said. "They wanted to pay a lump sum and
close."


But as Burris told City Council during a past lunch meeting, the state has offered to pay an amount less than
what the city has calculated.


"We will be coming back to the state and asking for what we feel they truly owe," he said in an interview.


The state Office of Administration did not respond to a request for an interview.




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State tax credit of up to $1,250 fails to
attract many home buyers
By DON NORFLEET
The Fulton Sun
June 29, 2010


A $1,250 state tax credit to many Missourians for residential home purchases such as this one at 505 E. 10th St.
in Fulton has been available since January. A total of $15 million has been set aside for the state tax credit
program by the Missouri Housing Development Commission but only $3 million has been claimed. The tax credit
expires Aug. 31, 2010. (Don Norfleet/FULTON SUN photo)
The state of Missouri has been trying to give away $15 million to home buyers but isn't having much success.


To help stimulate the economy, the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) in January set aside
$15 million to entice Missourians to buy homes.


Dubbed Homeowners Purchase Enhancement program -- or HOPE for short -- the program was created to give
many Missouri families up to $1,250 when they buy a new home.


But as of Friday, only about $3 million had been given away and $12 million remains to be claimed by Missouri
home buyers.


Unlike earlier programs restricted to first-time home buyers, the HOPE program is open to all Callaway County
residents who meet the income limits.


Joan Morris of Davis Realty in Fulton said the program is a valuable incentive for someone interested in buying a
home.


The federal $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers has expired. The state incentives are still available -- but
only for two more months.


Mikki Starmer of RE/MAX in Fulton is dismayed that the state program has been in operation in Missouri since
January and has paid out only $3 million of the $15 million available.


"People just don't seem to be aware of the program. It's under-publicized." Starmer said.




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Another factor in the lack of interest, she said, is that there is so much paperwork required to complete in order
to receive the benefit.


She said Missouri Realtors are accustomed to paperwork but in this case all of the paperwork must be
completed by the consumer and the amount required is more than the average consumer wants to tackle.


Income limits for participation in the program vary and offer higher payments in targeted areas where 70 percent
or more of the families have an income that is 80 percent or less than the median income in the state.


Income limits for a one or two-person residence in a targeted area is $78,840 or $91,980 for a three-person
family.


Callaway County doesn't have a targeted area and has lower household income limits. The household annual
income limit for Callaway County for a two-person family is $65,700 and $75,555 for a three-person household.


Qualified Missouri families that purchase a home by Aug. 31, 2010, are eligible for a payment equaling the
amount of the 2009 real estate tax bill associated with the property up to a maximum of $1,250.


Missouri home buyers who are approved for the real estate property tax HOPE incentive may also be eligible to
receive an additional amount if they bought a qualified newly constructed energy efficient home or bought an
existing home and remodeled or purchased items, such as Energy Star appliances, to make the home more
energy efficient.


The maximum combined total of the HOPE property tax incentive and the HOPE energy efficiency incentive is
$1,750.


The Energy Efficiency Upgrade Application and Affidavit (Form No. 715) must be completed and mailed to
MHDC along with a copy of paid receipts.


Like most government programs, people who want to qualify for them learn they have income limits placed on
them and numerous other bureaucratic hoops to jump through.


The HOPE incentive funds are provided in the form of an interest-free promissory note loan, which does not
require payments. However, the recipient must repay the entire amount received if he fails to occupy the
residence for a least one year from the date the state payment was received.


To qualify for the money the applicant must:



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* Complete MHDC's Application Form 700.


* Complete and notarize MHDC Form 705 for home purchase affidavit.


* Complete and notarize MHDC Form 720 for a HOPE promissory note.


* Provide a copy of Settlement State (HUD-1), which is received at real estate closing.


* Provide a copy of the 2009 real estate property bill associated with the property purchased.


* Provide a copy of the Uniform Residential Mortgage Loan Application (Form 1003), which is received at real
estate closing.


* Provide a copy of the applicant's driver's license.


* Provide a copy of the executed home purchase contract.


* If the spouse or co-habitant of the applicant is not listed on the mortgage loan, the person must provide income
documentation, such as a 2009 W-2 income tax withholding statement.


* Provide a copy of the deed to the residence purchased. It must contain the Recorder of Deeds stamp with the
Plat Book and Page Number of the Deed.


To apply for the energy efficiency incentive, the applicant must provide either:


* A New Construction Energy Efficiency Home Affidavit by completing and notarizing Form 710.


* An Existing Home Energy Efficiency Upgrade Affidavit by completing and notarizing Form 715.


A copy of the paid receipt and invoice also must be mailed to the Missouri Housing Development Commission
with the affidavit.




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More than $2.6 million funneled to Cape
Girardeau since start of DREAM initiative
Thursday, July 1, 2010
By Melissa Miller ~ Southeast Missourian
(Photo)
A Nip Kelley Equipment Co. excavator removes concrete from Good Hope Street along the $1.2 million Fountain
Street extension project Tuesday, June 22, 2010 in Cape Girardeau. The new road will be constructed on an
abandoned railroad bed and connect from Morgan Oak to William streets.
(Fred Lynch)


Since Cape Girardeau was designated a Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri
community in 2006, it has received more than $2.6 million in federal and state grants to help with local
improvement projects, according to a report recently presented to the city council.


The funds helped pay for community programs, like Tunes at Twilight and the Cape Girardeau Storytelling
Festival, and helped with construction projects including additional riverfront parking and public restroom
facilities and converting the former Schultz School into affordable senior housing.


"The DREAM designation has helped with grant-writing; we don't know to what extent yet, but having that
designation has enhanced the chances of future grant funding," said Mayor Harry Rediger. "I'm really excited
about a number of projects that could result through this initiative."


Biggest project yet


The largest DREAM-assisted project so far is the extension of Fountain Street, from Morgan Oak to William
streets, now under construction. The city received more than half a million dollars in federal and state funds with
assistance from the DREAM Initiative for that project. Total cost of the Fountain Street project is $1.2 million,
with the portion not covered by grants coming from TTF-3.


The DREAM Initiative also assisted the community in receiving tax credits for the Discovery Playhouse
Children's Museum, provided funds to assist with repairs of downtown homes owned by low-income individuals,
and helped secure a grant through the Missouri Heritage Properties program to replace the heating and air-
conditioning system in the Common Pleas Courthouse.


The DREAM Initiative program, started by former governor Matt Blunt, provides selected Missouri communities
access to technical and financial assistance to help them to accomplish their downtown revitalization plans.



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"The biggest benefit in the end is having a plan that we can use to direct development in a way that makes
sense overall rather than piece by piece," said Marla Mills, executive director of Old Town Cape. "The plan really
directs my thought process when I talk to people and think about development in terms of what we need and
what we don't need,"


As part of the DREAM Initiative, the city of Cape Girardeau, in partnership with the Cape Girardeau Area
Chamber of Commerce and Old Town Cape, created a downtown strategic plan that was adopted by the city
council in July 2009. Last fall, the plan received honorable mention as an Outstanding Plan from the Missouri
Chapter of the American Planning Association. It's designed to guide downtown development for the next five to
10 years, Mills said.


Work just beginning


The community officially completed its DREAM Initiative in February of this year, but the work on most projects
associated with the downtown strategic plan are just beginning.


"Some things are conceptual, still visionary, they still need to be planned," said Tim Arbeiter, vice president of
community development at the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce. Increasing residential
development around the Southeast Missouri State University River Campus, enhancing Broadway and attracting
a hotel to downtown are examples of items included in the plan that still have many details to be worked out,
Arbeiter said.


An additional $4 million has been requested for projects including a community development block grant for
building rehabilitation at 635 Broadway in partnership with Prestige Development LLC and TTF-4 road
improvements for Broadway and William Street. Funding also is being sought for new downtown sidewalks in the
near future.


If downtown Cape Girar-deau were to see a casino development in the future, Mills said, it would affect the
downtown strategic plan created as part of the DREAM Initiative but wouldn't change it drastically.




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Auditor finds $7.6M in unclaimed court
funds
By Rebecca S. Rivas of the St. Louis American
Wednesday, June 30, 2010 9:58 PM CDT


Missouri State Auditor Susan Montee found a laundry list of unidentified funds in an audit of the 22nd Judicial
Circuit, released on Tuesday.


Circuit Clerk Mariano Favazza‘s office has $7.6 million in old bank accounts and investments, which generates
1.8 percent in interest every year. About $2.5 million of that interest has gone to the City of St. Louis‘ general
fund, Favazza said.


Under state law, if Favazza cannot find the rightful owners of the funds, he should ―dispose‖ of the funds, or
hand them over to the state treasurer, and close the accounts.


―Maintaining old inactive accounts increases the risk of theft and misuse of funds and deprives the state, city,
and others the use of those monies,‖ Montee stated in the audit.


However, Favazza said that the money would just go into state revenue and away from the money‘s local
owners.


In addition, the City of St. Louis would not receive interest revenue if the funds were released to the state. On
June 17, Favazza said he wrote City Budget Director Paul Payne a check for $250,000, and he meets annually
with Payne to let him know how much revenue the city can expect from the clerk.


―That pays for essential city services,‖ Favazza said.


Favazza started the Justice Information System Account in 1996, which is used for all case fees, bonds,
restitution, etc., unless a judge orders monies held in a special court ordered bank account, the audit states.


Out of $6.4 million in the account, $214,264 are unidentified child support monies that never made it to the
proper families.




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In response, Favazza said that the child support money was collected prior to the time he came to office in
January 1999.


―Due to manpower issues, we continue to first work cases where we have the highest probability of returning the
funds to its true owner,‖ the auditee‘s response states in the audit.


Montee states that the circuit clerk only had one contract employee who exclusively worked to identify and
reduce the liabilities of these accounts until the end of 2008. Now the office only has one person who spends a
portion of work time on the old accounts.


Montee also said that miscommunication between the judges and the circuit clerk‘s office can lead to money
never reaching its owners.


Montee found 16 cases totaling $1,551,786 of old court-ordered accounts. Some had no activity for more than
10 years, and the clerk‘s office personnel said they have not contacted the judge or attorney about the money.


According to the audit, the clerk‘s office said that a court order must be issued directing the office how to
disburse monies, and Presiding Judge David Dowd indicated the Court En Banc is not notified of these cases.


Also in the audit, some bonds were not properly authorized or properly documented in the Pre-trial Release
office, which helps the judges determine bonds for defendants. The office collects $175,000 a year in cash
bonds and more in surety bonds.


After reviewing 11 bonds, Montee determined at all of the errors related to one bond company. The audit states
that the Presiding Judge formed a committee to review the office procedures. Dowd also asked law enforcement
to investigate any possible wrong doing and requested the Missouri Department of Insurance investigate the
bond company and any agents acting on its behalf.




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BLOG ZONE
Research 2000, source of weird Missouri
poll data, accused of fraud
By David Martin, Wednesday, Jun. 30 2010 @ 1:00PM
The Pitch


A polling outfit whose work The Pitch questioned in 2008 is being labeled a fraud by a client.


On Tuesday, the liberal politics blog Daily Kos disowned the polls it had asked Research 2000 to conduct. The
blog's founder, Markos Moulitsas, has concluded that Research 2000's survey results are "bunk" after reading a
report by three statisticians who examined the Maryland company's work.


Research 2000 came to our attention in 2008, when its pulse-taking in Missouri yielded curious results.


Missourians picked a new attorney general in '08. One month before the August primary, Research 2000 said
Jeff Harris was the Democrat to beat. Harris led the next closest competitor, Chris Koster, by 10 percentage
points, in a Research 2000 poll.


harris_jeff.jpg
Jeff Harris wasn't the Democrat to beat in '08.
Harris ended up finishing third, behind Koster, the winner, and Margaret Donnelly. (Koster won the general
election, as well.)


Asked about the poll in the wake of very different results, Research 2000 president Del Ali shrugged.


"To be honest, I'm not concerned, like, 'Where did we go wrong,'" Ali told me in 2008. Ali said it was "ludicrous"
to expect precision from a poll that had asked about down-ballot candidates a month in advance of an election.


Working on behalf of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV-TV, Research 2000 also sampled Missouri voters'
preferences in the presidential race. A Research 2000 poll in July showed Barack Obama leading John McCain
by five percentage points.




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It was a startling finding. Other polls taken at around the same time showed McCain-Palin leading the race for
Missouri's electoral votes.


Five Thirty Eight, a Web site that monitors polling data, says Research 2000's polls have declined in quality in
recent years. On Tuesday, Five Thirty Eight founder Nate Silver posted an e-mail that he wrote to a pollster in
February in which he outlined some of his reservations about Research 2000's work.


Daily Kos plans to sue Research 2000 for producing what Moulitsas says is data "fabricated or manipulated
beyond recognition."


Ali tells The Washington Post that Research 2000 did a proper job for Daily Kos. Also, a lawyer working for Ali hit
Silver with a cease-and-desist letter, which he's ignoring.




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St. Louis City sues state over firefighter
residency
BY DAVID HUNN > dhunn@post-dispatch.com > 314-436-2239 | Posted: Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:39 am |


The city of St. Louis has sued Missouri, seeking to reverse a new state law that allows St. Louis firefighters to
live outside city limits.


"Morally, the people of St. Louis pay the taxes, they should be making the decision," said Jeff Rainford, chief of
staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, who strongly opposed the law. "Not someone from South County, or
Joplin, or Jefferson City."


Governor Jay Nixon signed the bill into law last week. It allows St. Louis firefighters with more than seven years
of service to live outside city limits, beginning August 29.


The case, filed in Cole County, has no scheduled court date.


Posted in Political-fix on Wednesday, June 30, 2010 11:39 am Updated: 1:14 pm. | Tags: David Hunn, St. Louis




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Missouri Ethics Commission actions now
searchable online
By TONY MESSENGER > tmessenger@post-dispatch.com > 573-636-6178 | Posted: Wednesday, June 30,
2010 11:29 am


JEFFERSON CITY -- Good news for political junkies who want to be able to see what sort of dastardly deeds or
misdeeds various candidates are up to regarding campaign finance laws: The Missouri Ethics Commission has
ugraded its Web site to make such items searchable.


Previously, with the anonymous and secretive nature of ethics commission complaints, it was difficult to
determine whether a complaint against a politician had been confirmed or dismissed because you had to know
which date to check a commission action; and the commission agenda's don't indicate which cases will be heard.


But now you can search by name and find out whether a complaint against a candidate has been dismissed or
verified.


For instance, want to know what happened to the complaint made against Republican auditor candidate Allen
Icet, who was accused of violating campaign finance law by mis-reporting a loan as a contribution?


Go to the site, search Icet, and you'll find that the complaint has been dismissed.


It's a nice bit of additional transparency from the ethics commission.




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Missouri incentives aimed at Ford face
bumpy road
Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 2:54pm CDT | Modified: Wednesday, June 30, 2010, 3:19pm
Blog: KCBizBeat


It now seems likely that a package of incentives designed to entice Ford Motor Co. to reinvest in its Kansas City
Assembly Plant won‘t pass until after the Fourth of July, if at all.


Missouri Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Independence, said the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act probably will pass out
of a Senate committee on Wednesday and go to the floor of the Senate on Thursday. The Senate will take at
least a day to consider the bill. If it passes there, it probably will result in a different version than the bill the
House passed Tuesday, Callahan said.


The House added a tax credit for call centers that could create a legal issue because the special session called
by Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon didn‘t include it as one of the two specific reasons for the session. The governor
called for the General Assembly to consider the Manufacturing Jobs Act and changes to the state pension plan.


―So what will happen is that the Senate will likely pass a version that is just dealing with the two stated issues,‖
Callahan said. ―Then we would probably meet in conference to reconcile the bills.‖


The reconciliation process probably would take a day, then it‘s another day for the two legislative branches to
vote on the reconciled bill. That pushes the vote at least into next week.


Local economic development officials, such as Jeff Kaczmarek, CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of
Kansas City, say time is of the essence. Although Ford has yet to officially acknowledge it, the United Auto
Workers Local 249 says the Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, which has 3,700 hourly employees, is on
track to lose production of the Ford Escape next year. That production accounts for three shifts on the car side of
the plant. If half the plant shuts down, that prompts concerns about whether Ford would decide to shut down the
one remaining shift of production on the F-150 truck side of the plant, moving it elsewhere.


For Callahan, the decision is clear: pass state incentives and have a chance to keep some of those 3,700 jobs,
or shoot down the measure and watch those jobs go to another state willing to provide incentives.


―Alabama gave nearly $800 million over 15 years to a foreign car manufacturer to get (its) jobs,‖ Callahan said.
―Ford, an American car company, has to compete in that environment. It sounds good to say you‘re tired of
giving incentives to companies. But that is the world we live in. While some may have a genuine criticism of
giving incentives, keep in mind the reality is that if Missouri is not competitive, these companies just move to
other places.‖

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While Missouri Republican leaders such as House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, now support the bill, there
still is a large contingent of Republicans opposing it. Rep. Bryan Pratt, R-Blue Springs, said he intends to vote
against the measure. Pratt called it a corporate bailout.


Buzz words such as ―bailout‖ don‘t fit this scenario, Callahan said.


―Not a single dime will be spent unless Ford stays here and has employees working for them,‖ Callahan said.
―There is no cash up front.‖




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MISSOURINET




McCaskill suspends aide for anti-Tea Party
remarks (AUDIO)
by Bob Priddy on June 30, 2010


Senator McCaskill has suspended one of her fieled representatives for a week without pay for comparing Tea
Party members to Nazis. McCaskill says she first heard about the remarks by aide Bob Burns last week and
immediately apologized to the blogger who posted them. …


McCaskill says Tea Party members are ―strong, patriotic, opinionated Americans. I am glad they are airing their
opinions; that‘s what this country is all about.‖


She says she is ―embarrassed‖ that a member of her staff said–apparently sometime last year–that Tea Party
members who disrupted town hall meetings were using some of the same tactics early Nazi ‗brown shirts‖ used
in disrupting meetings. Burns has been suspended for a week without pay and will be on probation when he
returns.




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Gov. Nixon pleased with progress of
special session (AUDIO)
by Brent Martin on June 30, 2010


Governor Nixon says he‘s pleased with the progress of the special legislative session, though the House has
gone beyond the call he issued to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol.


Nixon says he appreciates the quick work of the House to approve the two bills he wants completed during this
special session, even though the jobs bill has taken on extra baggage.


―We‘re flexible to continue to negotiate inside the parameters,‖ Nixon says. ―The bottom line is our eyes are on
the prize here. Our eyes are on building the cars of the future. We think that Ford is making those decisions in
the coming weeks to decide where they are going to do that. We want that to be in the state of Missouri. We
think we have an opportunity to get that done if we get this measured passed.‖


Nixon says time is of the essence if Missouri wants to keep the Claycomo plant in Kansas City at full production
as well as keep its suppliers throughout the state in business. The House on Tuesday approved an economic
development bill that would provide a tax break of up to $100 million to Ford to keep Claycomo humming. House
members, though, added amendments to the bill. The House Economic Development Committee added a
provision that would give tax breaks to companies seeking appropriate space to store computer data. During
debate, the House agreed to an amendment that would extend the Homestead Preservation Tax Credit, a
property tax break for the elderly.


Nixon says the House action goes beyond the call he issued for the special session. He believes the Senate will
scale the bill back during debate on Thursday, though some senators favor the incentives for data storage. The
House also approved a pension bill different from the version approved by the Senate during the regular session.


Nixon believes the House and Senate can reach a compromise on both that bill and the pension bill.


―Everybody knew that the House had some things they wanted to talk about. Everybody knows the Senate got
some things they want to talk about. Everybody knew this was going to be a situation in which the House passes
a version and the Senate passes a version,‖ according to Nixon. ―Those versions will be merged in conference. I
think the difference points here are relatively small.‖




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The House completed its work Tuesday and left for the Independence Day holiday weekend. It scheduled a
technical session for Wednesday. If the Senate declines to accept the House bills, the two chambers likely will
negotiate a compromise next week.


House leaders say they would like the governor to expand his call so that the data center tax breaks could be
included. Nixon says that at this time he has no intention to expand his call.




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Ford bill ready for Senate debate
by Bob Priddy on June 30, 2010


The Ford bill is ready for the Senate to pass but a final approval in the legislature might have to wait until next
week.


The proposal goign to the full Senate allows Ford to keep about 100-million dollars worth of withholding taxes
and plow that money into retooling the Claycomo plant to keep it in full production after the SUV line shuts down
next year.


State officials, some legislators and some union leaders have gotten indications from Ford that it will put a new
line of vehicles in Claycomo if the state provides the tax incentives. But State Economic Development Director
David Kerr says Ford has not guaranteed anything. He says the failure of the legislature to pass the bill in May
has increased the stakes because other states have begun offering big bucks to Ford. Kerr says Ford expects to
make a decision in 90 to 120 days about the future of the Claycomo plant.


The House sponsor of the bill says there is no ―next year‖ as far as the Claycomo retooling. He says Missouri will
not be competitive and about 15,000 jobs at Claycomo and at parts plants in 113 of Missouri‘s 114 counties
could be at risk if the legislature does not pass the bill.


Committee hearing excerpt with David Kerr & Sens. Goodman, Callahan, Lembke & Schmitt




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Gov. Nixon signs bill merging SWP with
SHP (AUDIO)
by Brent Martin on June 30, 2010


Gov. Nixon signs bill merging State Water Patrol with State Highway Patrol


Gov. Nixon signs bill merging State Water Patrol with State Highway Patrol


Governor Nixon promises nearly three million dollars a year in savings as he signs into law a bill combining the
State Water Patrol with the State Highway Patrol.


Nixon has held a signing ceremony of HB 1868 at the Lake of the Ozarks this morning.


Nixon says the merging of the two law enforcement agencies will be seamless. The Water Patrol is much smaller
than the Highway Patrol, with 90 officers. The Highway Patrol has more than 1,000 troopers and officers.


The merger takes effect January 1, 2011. On that date, the State Water Patrol will no longer be a separate
independent agency, but will become the Division of the Water Patrol within the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
Both will be under the Missouri Department of Public Safety. Administrative savings have been estimated at $2.8
million. No officers will be laid off.


The State Water Patrol was created in 1959 as the Missouri Boat Commission. Its name changed to the Division
of Water Safety in 1974, finally becoming the Missouri State Water Patrol in 1989.




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EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor

Medical errors, at the VA and elsewhere
BY EDITORIAL BOARD EBoard@post-dispatch.com | Posted: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 9:01 pm | No
Comments


The St. Louis VA Medical Center on Grand Ave.


Nearly 2,000 veterans were notified this week that they may have been exposed to viral infections such as
hepatitis or AIDS because of improperly sterilized dental equipment at the St. Louis VA Medical Center.
That failure represents an unacceptable breach of basic infection-control procedures. It is yet another in a
seemingly endless litany of major problems at VA centers around the region and across the nation.
Last month, federal officials restricted certain types of surgery from being performed at the VA Medical Center in
Marion, Ill., and at other facilities in five states.
The move came after serious quality problems were uncovered in Marion that caused at least nine deaths and a
dozen serious patient injuries.
Last year, the VA warned thousands of veterans who got care at facilities in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee
that they may have been exposed to viruses that cause hepatitis or AIDS. In that case, officials learned that
flexible tubing used in colonoscopies had been improperly sterilized.


VA officials in St. Louis — like those in Florida, Georgia and Tennessee — said patients‘ actual risk of infection
was low. Indeed, it‘s not clear that anyone has been infected in any of the incidents.
Still, it‘s tempting to see those cases as symptoms of a dysfunctional health care system in need of major
reform. That‘s exactly what they are.
But the system in need of change isn‘t just the VA‘s. It‘s the entire U.S. health care system.
We don‘t mean to downplay what happened in St. Louis or in Marion. Those errors are inexcusable.
But the VA health system actually scores higher on many quality indicators than the hospitals the rest of us use.
The very same problems reported at VA medical centers occur with distressing frequency in hospitals and clinics
across the country.


Some examples:
• In Denver, 5,700 patients at Rose Medical Center were notified last year that they may have been exposed to
the virus that causes hepatitis C in surgeries over the prior year.



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• In 2008, two hospitals owned by the Scripps Foundation in southern California were fined by state regulators
for using improperly sterilized surgical equipment.
• An improperly sterilized laryngoscope caused infections that killed two premature babies in a Los Angeles
hospital in 2006.
• The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was forced to notify patients last year that they may have been
exposed to life-threatening illnesses because sterilizing equipment at the facility failed.
• In 2008, North Carolina health officials said 160 patients of a hospital in Cape Fear may have been exposed to
staph infections because of the same failure.


Mistakes happen at every hospital. You‘re more likely to hear about them at a VA hospital, because the VA has
a policy of notifying every patient who has been the victim of medical error. Many private hospitals and doctors
don‘t do that.
That‘s still no excuse for what went on in St. Louis. On Tuesday, U.S. Reps. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis,, and
Todd Akin, R-Town and Country, demanded a federal investigation.
Investigators should go back to at least 2007, when an inspector general‘s report criticized the St. Louis VA
Medical Center for deficiencies in quality management. Did those lapses contribute to the hospital‘s failure to
quickly recognize sterilization problems?
Veterans deserve the best quality health care. So do the rest of us.




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A good idea to finance incentives that
might save Claycomo
KC Star
Posted on Wed, Jun. 30, 2010 10:15 PM


Assembly of the Ford F-150 has kept workers busy at Claycomo, but the plant's future is of concern.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon‘s call for the special legislative session under way in Jefferson City was fraught with
difficult choices.


Chief among them: Could lawmakers, in good conscience, approve a package that essentially demands pension
contributions from low-paid state workers to pay for economic incentives for auto manufacturers?


Fortunately, the House has found a better way to finance the incentives, which would increase the chances of
retaining good-paying jobs at Ford Motor Co.‘s Claycomo plant.


Missouri leaders want Ford to start a new product line at Claycomo to replace jobs that will be lost when
production of the Escape/Mercury Mariner SUV moves to Louisville, Ky.


Keeping the Claycomo jobs is crucial for this region. Lawmakers should have passed an incentive package
during their regular session. Now, they need to get the job done.


Nixon was correct to propose a way to offset the costs of the incentives — up to $15 million a year. And state
leaders do need to look at ways of making the pension system more self-supporting.


But asking state employees, whose salaries are the lowest in the nation, to finance incentives for an international
automaker is problematic.


As an alternative, the House bill passed this week would carve $15 million out of the $80 million allocated
annually for the Missouri Quality Jobs Act. That program allows employers who create good-paying jobs with
health insurance to retain a portion of their withholding taxes.


The program is underused — only $38 million was exempted in 2009 — so the House proposal is certainly worth
a look.




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Having birthed a good idea, House members then loaded up their bill to include tax breaks for senior citizens
and incentives for computerized data centers and a wide range of transportation-related businesses, even hot
dog carts.


A Senate committee Wednesday wisely deleted those extras. Some of the ideas have merit, but they should be
considered in next year‘s regular session. Lawmakers should pass legislation that will help keep the auto jobs at
Claycomo and then hit the road.




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Missouri strippers: No jobs for you.
BY EDITORIAL BOARD EBoard@post-dispatch.com | Posted: Wednesday, June 30th, 2010 9:00 pm | No
Comments


R.J. Matson/Post-Dispatch


As we understand it, the state of Missouri‘s economic development policy now has four tiers.


• Lousy jobs: Good. Even if it‘s just stocking shelves at Wal-Mart or plucking chickens, if it puts people to work,
it‘s a good job and might be worth state and local subsidies.


• Quality jobs: Even better. If it pays a living wage and offers health care benefits, it can qualify for millions in
―quality jobs‖ tax credits. There hasn‘t been much demand for these credits, so there‘s plenty to go around.


• State jobs: Dispensable. Some 2,500 state jobs have been eliminated in the last 18 months because of budget
cuts.


• Nude dancing jobs. Bad. Very bad. Immoral, even. Pay is better than chicken plucking, but may attract a ―bad
element,‖ particularly in the presence of alcohol and after midnight. Time to get rid of them.


Last Friday, Gov. Jay Nixon signed a bill that cracks down on the adult entertainment industry. He did so without
comment, rare for a governor who generally issues at least a press release and often holds a dog-and-pony
show for every bill signing.


The new law, which takes effect Aug. 28, means strip clubs no longer can stay open after midnight or serve
alcohol. The dancers may be ―semi-nude‖ but not in a ―state of nudity‖ (Senate Bill 586 explains the difference in
excruciatingly specific anatomic detail) and must stay at least 10 feet away from patrons.


The bill thus eliminates not only the practice of customers stuffing tips into G-strings, but also individual dancer-
to-patron personal contact that goes by such names as lap dances and friction dances. That, and the alcohol
prohibition, effectively take the money out of exotic dancing.


The bill was sort of a going-away gift to Sen. Matt Bartle, R-Lee‘s Summit, who worked on it for eight years and
who has been term-limited out of the Legislature. Along the way, the bill got sidetracked many times.


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In 2005, the bill was held up by then-House Speaker Rod Jetton, a fact that was at the center of an FBI
investigation into pay-to-play practices in Jefferson City. A federal grand jury in Kansas City has issued no
indictments.


The new law will have minimal impact in St. Louis, where, since the mid-19th century, most of the strip club
industry has been relegated to the Illinois side of the Mississippi River.


But elsewhere in Missouri, club owners are vowing to fight the new strip club regulations on First Amendment
grounds. And, because these days jobs are top of mind for almost everyone, the industry says that the bill may
cost as many as 3,000 jobs and $4.5 million in state tax revenue.


This seems a little high, but maybe they were all as successful as the Bada Bing Club on ―The Sopranos.‖ The
fiscal note attached to Mr. Bartle‘s bill estimated the lost state revenue at about $100,000. On liquor and payroll
taxes alone, this is far too low. But perhaps the gain to the state‘s moral fiber is worth the cost.


We leave that decision to individuals, which is what Mr. Bartle should have done.
And finally we note that last year, Missouri took in $316 million in gambling taxes. We would have thought the
state would be without sin taxes before it cast its stone.




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Mott Oxford: Missouri House approves bad
economic policy
July 1, 2010


The Missouri House of Representatives has voted to continue playing in the "Rob Your Neighbor" game that has
proven so disastrous for our state and nation. Legislators passed the Manufacturing Jobs Act (HCS HB 2) as a
desperate "Hail Mary" play, frantic to retain 4,000 jobs at the Claycomo Ford plant near Kansas City. What will
become of the bill is still a question mark, as the governor and Senate leaders have signaled disapproval of
some amendments added on the House side.


Repeatedly, we have allowed wealthy special interests to intimidate us with the threat of moving jobs to another
state if we do not cough up the taxpayers' money. Even when we come through with the dough, companies who
benefit often feel no obligation to stay in Missouri, moving from one sweetheart deal to the next, leaving behind a
swath of economic disaster. I offered an amendment calling on federal legislators to pass a strong anti-piracy act
to stop this losing game, but unfortunately the amendment failed.


As Stewart Acuff and Richard A. Levins point out in their short but powerful book "Getting America Back to Work"
(Tasora Books, 2010), such legislative actions do not happen in a vacuum. They are the result of "intentional,
sustained, strategic public policy - bad public policy cooked up by the Financial Elite and their henchmen." The
outcome is that the USA has stopped working for ordinary Americans, favoring only a handful of unbelievably
rich and powerful individuals.


Acuff and Levins call us to return to our nation's highest values, affirming that people come before profits and
every worker deserves dignity and respect. We must organize a movement large enough and strong enough to
challenge those who push the lie that "greed is good" and that short-term profits justify harm to the environment
and to our neighbors. In doing so, we can grow the middle class and end three decades of stagnant wages. We
all do better when we all do better.


Jeanette Mott Oxford is Democratic state representative for the 59th District. She lives in St. Louis.




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