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                                  C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 1 of 19

MOSERS to change employee bonus policy
Thursday, November 19, 2009

The board of the Missouri State Employees Retirement System moved Thursday to adopt a policy prohibiting the
payment of employee bonuses during years in which the pension fund loses money.
The board voted 6-4 to direct its staff to draft a new compensation plan prohibiting the bonuses in down
investment years and tying one-half of future bonuses to the system’s asset allocation policy. The issue came to
the board’s attention this year because the board awarded $460,000 in employee bonuses despite the fact that
the pension fund lost about $1.8 billion because of the troubled stock market.
Another board vote will be needed at its next meeting to implement the details of its new compensation policy.
The vote followed other unsuccessful attempts to modify the existing policy and one proposal to eliminate
bonuses entirely.
Defenders of the existing bonus plan said it was partly responsible for MOSERS’ performance that exceeded
that of other state pension funds.
Travis Morrison, one of Gov. Jay Nixon’s appointees to the board, said the bonus system needed to be changed
to show MOSERS was not operating in a vacuum and recognized that the economy had had a negative impact
on other state agencies.

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                                   C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 2 of 19

MOSERS may bar bonuses in
underperforming years
Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio (2009-11-19)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO. (St. Louis Public Radio) - The board that oversees Missouri's State Employees
Retirement System (MOSERS) is crafting a proposal that would bar employees from receiving bonuses during
years when the pension fund loses money.
Earlier this year, MOSERS staff members received around $400,000 in performance incentives, even though
investments made by the system lost money in 2008.
Democratic State Treasurer Clint Zweifel sits on the board and voted in favor of ending that practice.
"A board has a responsibility to stand up and be an advocate for taxpayers and for beneficiaries, and that's really
what the intention of this proposal is, to make sure that we're evaluating people and giving incentives that are
proper," Zweifel said.
But State Representative Bill Deeken (R, Jefferson City), who also sits on the board, voted against it. He says
even in down years, hard work should be rewarded.
"These guys have done a fantastic cost us $400-and-something thousand, they made $600 million more
than anybody else me, we did the right thing," Deeken said.
The proposal to bar staff bonuses when the pension fund loses money will be voted on at the next MOSERS
board meeting.

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                                    C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 3 of 19

Agreement to freeze tuition hides MU's grim
financial prospects
November 19, 2009 | 3:31 p.m. CST
I wish I could be happier with the governor’s announcement about the university’s budget.
For those who’ve been too busy thinking about Thanksgiving dinner to read the front page the past couple of
days, Gov. Nixon has offered and our university’s leaders have jumped at a deal that provides a second year of
no tuition increases for in-state students and a budget for higher education that’s just under 95 percent of this
year’s budget.
At one level, and for some bill payers, it’s a good deal. I’m sure that’s why President Forsee and Chancellor
Deaton were quick to sign on. As the governor said, keeping higher education affordable is a good thing.
However, all parties must recognize that it’s another step backward. Even this deal isn’t a sure thing, by any
means. And if it comes to pass, it makes a bad situation worse.
I thought the comments of Rep. Chris Kelly, as reported in Thursday’s Missourian, were ominous. Keep in mind
that Chris is a strong supporter of the university and a loyal Democrat. So when he points out that the legislature
— not the governor — has the real budget authority, he’s both stating the obvious and warning that with the
economy still floundering and federal stimulus money largely spent, 95 percent may well be a hope rather than a
Chris also urged university officials to do a better job of pressing their case with the legislature. That’s important,
and President Forsee is already doing it; but it’s hard to envision much legislative largesse in such troubled
times. Better economic circumstances have yielded a decade of declining state support.
The reality is grim. As President Forsee noted Wednesday, the funding model for higher education in Missouri is
broken. He added, providing no details, ―The time to start reforming that path is now.‖ Perhaps the direction of
the path will be clearer after the on-campus conversations the president promises for the next couple of months.
A few numbers tell the story: This year’s general operating budget for the campus is $483 million. That’s what
Budget Director Tim Rooney told the faculty meeting last month. If the 5.2 percent cut in state support promised
by the governor is passed along proportionately, that translates to about $25 million less for our campus next
Now remember that university budgeters have been planning for 2 percent salary raises for next year. Higher
salaries, they’ve said, are a high priority. Rooney said that modest raise would require another 5 percent of the
general operating budget. Unless that priority has drowned in red ink, as I’m guessing it has, there’s another $24
million needed.
Math isn’t my strong suit, so I won’t try to calculate how big an increase would be needed in out-of-state tuition
and the fees that aren’t frozen in order to generate $50 million or even $25 million. I doubt that even Tim Rooney
could make those numbers work.
The only financially feasible alternative to the governor’s deal that I can see would have been a whopping
increase in tuition for all. Hypothetically, an increase of $1,800 in annual tuition for all 30,000 students would
yield $54 million. (That would have put our in-state tuition at about $10,300 a year. By sheerest coincidence,
that’s the level being proposed for the University of California system, which has long been regarded as setting
the quality standard among public universities.)

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                                  C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 4 of 19

That’s not going to happen here, of course, so more cuts seem inevitable at an institution from which the fat has
long since been surgically removed. If only ―world class‖ meant being in the same fix as the rest of the world of
higher education, we’d be on our way to being world class after all.
George Kennedy is a former managing editor at the Missourian and professor emeritus at the Missouri School of

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                                    C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 5 of 19

Missouri's Largest Lost And Found
COLUMBIA - One in every 10 Missourians has unclaimed money and property the state is waiting to give back,
but most people don't even know it.
There's nothing unusual when you look inside the Unclaimed Property Division at the state treasurer's office. In
fact, it's no different than any other office building, except when you think about how much money it's giving
away. The state treasurer, Clint Zweifel, says he has about $558 million that isn't his. The money accumulates
from old bank accounts, government refunds, overpaid insurance premiums, and more. State law says
businesses must turn over assets to the state if there's no contact with the owner over the course of 5 years.
That money goes to Jefferson City, and from there, the state treasurer's office must get that money back to the
"We've all met as a team and have talked about doing that now more than ever with the way the economy
is," Zweifel said.
In mid-Missouri, there's about $12 million waiting to be claimed. Around the state, there are about 3.5 million
unclaimed files. "There's a good chance if you put in some names," says Zweifel, "you're going to find somebody
with unclaimed property."
Debi Klick, who has worked in the Unclaimed Property Division for 14 years, helps give that money away.
"There's a lot of people that say 'you don't know how much I can use this money right now,'" she said.
"I was very surprised," said Connie, a Columbia resident who requested KOMU 8 News use only her first name.
Connie found money from her father that dated back to the Great Depression. "I assumed he knew where every
penny was he ever earned," she said.
The average claim is about $353. It might not be enough to change your life, but it could help. And if you can't
find your name, maybe you can help find money for someone you know. We looked up KOMU's custodian, Gene
Wolfe, and it turned out he had a small claim. "I didn't even know it existed until I was told about it," Wolfe said.
"It wasn't very much, but it did help out to buy gas and food and stuff."
Unclaimed Property Director Scott Harper said his office is giving away more money these days. "So far this
fiscal year we're already up 20% over where we were last year, and last year was a record year," he said.
In fiscal year 2008, the office returned $34.5 million in assets.
State Treasurer Clint Zweifel’s office said there has recently been a phishing scam where a person or group
poses as an assistant to the state treasurer and attempts to get personal information in the form of a fraudulent
e-mail concerning unclaimed property. The e-mail indicated the recipient may have unclaimed property and then
asked for personal information.

―Missourians should know that no unsolicited e-mails from my office regarding unclaimed property are ever sent
out, and that my office never charges to return unclaimed property,‖ Zweifel said. ―Additionally, the Office of
Administration has confirmed that no personal data my office maintains has been compromised.‖
To see if you or someone you know has unclaimed property, use the link above.
KOMU-TV      Reported by: Ryan Takeo

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                                  C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 6 of 19

3 MO. regions violate air quality
St. Louis (AP) -- The St. Louis and Kansas City areas, along with part of southeast Missouri, have violated
2008 air quality
standards and may be forced to impose new restrictions, the state said Thursday. The Missouri Department of
Natural Resources said ozone levels in St. Louis, Kansas City and Ste. Genevieve County were above the eight-
hour standard at some points during the April 1 to Oct. 31 ozone season.
St. Louis and Kansas City already are under ozone control measures because of air quality. Violations typically
require additional restrictions to cut pollutants created by trucks, cars, power plants and other businesses. But
because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering the standard for smog and may make them
more stringent, the states are in a holding pattern, DNR spokeswoman Renee Bungart said.
The EPA is expected to propose revised smog standards to protect health and the environment in late
Last year, the EPA under the Bush administration set a maximum airborne concentration for ground-level ozone
at 75 parts per billion. EPA's science advisory board, and most health experts, had recommended a limit of 60 to
70 parts per billion to adequately protect the elderly, people with respiratory problems and children.
Prior to last year, the last EPA standard for ozone was 85 parts per billion set in 1997. The St. Louis region had
succeeded in attaining the 1997 standard of 85 ppb, with reformulated gasoline, gasoline vapor recovery
nozzles, industrial regulations and mandatory inspection of autos. Meanwhile, the Kansas City region has
hovered just below it, DNR said. Smog is a respiratory irritant that can aggravate asthma and has been linked to
heart attacks.

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                                   C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 7 of 19

KC is branded a habitual violator of ozone standards
The Kansas City Star
The Kansas City area has violated the federal Clean Air Act, exceeding the ozone standard eight times over the
summer, Missouri officials said Thursday.
That makes Kansas City a habitual violator because it has exceeded the federal standard for three consecutive
Ordinarily, that would mean the area could be designated ―non-attainment,‖ which could mean many new air
quality controls.
But the Environmental Protection Agency is reconsidering the ozone standard, and it could be three years before
a new standard is in place.
That standard, however, could become even more stringent.
The EPA has been using a 2008 standard of 75 parts per billion. But the agency announced in September that it
would reconsider the standard because the Bush administration had not followed the recommendations of the
EPA’s science advisory committee, which wanted the standard to be lower to protect human health, experts
The committee recommended between 60 and 70 parts per billion.
Meanwhile, Amanda Graor, senior air quality planner for the Mid-America Regional Council, said the public
needs to focus on the summer of 2010 to try to lower ozone emissions. That’s because the formula for
calculating an ozone violation is based on a three-year rolling average, and if the ozone standard is exceeded
fewer times next summer, the federal government will take that into consideration.
Renee Bungart of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said people should know they can help solve
the ozone problem.
―In general, there is a huge list of what individuals can do, from don’t fill up your tanks in the heat of the day,
don’t top off your gas tanks, and try to carpool,‖ Bungart said. ―Citizens can make a difference one person at a
The St. Louis area and Ste. Genevieve County also violated the ozone standard, Bungart said.
Ozone season generally begins April 1 and ends Oct. 31.

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                                    C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 8 of 19

Missouri pensions board will select law
firms for suits
By Virginia Young

JEFFERSON CITY — Rejecting allegations that they were setting up a "pay-to-play" system, Missouri officials
laid the groundwork Thursday for filing lawsuits to recoup investment losses by the state's pension plan.
The Missouri State Employees Retirement System's board adopted a policy that will allow it to hire law firms that
specialize in securities fraud.
The firms will check MOSERS' portfolio to see whether companies violated securities laws — for example, by
hiding information. The lawyers will do the investigation for free but keep a percentage of any money awarded.
The decision capped a long-running debate over whether to join a wave of such class-action lawsuits. The fight
centered on who should pick the lawyers — the board or the staff. At least six firms from around the country
want the potentially lucrative contract.
Board member and state Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, said the staff should control the decision.
Otherwise, he said, board members would be "opening the door to pay-to-play in Missouri," meaning firms would
court the board with campaign cash and other goodies.
Board member David Steelman countered that campaign contributions and board votes are public.
"Transparency is a far greater disinfectant in pay-to-play," he said.
Steelman accused Crowell of having a potential conflict of interest because he has been hired by a law firm
vying for the state's business. Crowell is listed as "liaison counsel" in a suit filed in St. Louis by a New York firm,
Labaton Sucharow, against KV Pharmaceutical Co. Crowell refused to discuss the case, saying Missouri Bar
rules prevent him from disclosing his clients.
The imbroglio came at the end of a nine-hour meeting that focused on bonuses pension staffers receive. The
Post-Dispatch reported in the spring that the 14-member investment staff got $300,000 and the 58-member
operations staff received $160,000 in bonuses, even as the portfolio nosedived by $1.8 billion.

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                                  C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 9 of 19

With extra $1, Sinquefield makes sure
big donation is noticed
By Jake Wagman
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
ST. LOUIS — As one of the state’s most prolific campaign contributors, Rex Sinquefield is plenty familiar with
Missouri campaign finance laws.
So his latest contribution — for $5,001 to new St. Louis State Sen. Joe Keaveny — is more than just a sign of
Under state regulations, donations for more than $5,000 must be reported within 48 hours of receipt. Donations
for $5,000 or less can be reported on the regular quarterly financial reports, which can be dozens of pages of
By icing his contribution with an extra buck, Sinquefield — a retired financier and school-choice advocate —
made sure that his check to Keaveny this week came to light immediately.
It could be a message to other Democrats who may be considering challenging Keaveny — who won an
abbreviated term at a special election this month — in 2010.
But there could be a larger strategy at play. As Jeff City scribe Tony Messenger noted in a story earlier this
month, the recent corruption convictions of state lawmakers — including Jeff Smith, who Keaveny replaced —
may put ethics legislation on the fast track next session in the state legislature.
One aspect lawmakers could examine is if the requirement to report donations over $5,000 is improving
transparency — as Messenger wrote, many candidates avoided the reporting requirements by accepting checks
for exactly $5,000.
The additional dollar might be Sinquefield’s way of trying to show the system works.

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                                 C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 10 of 19

Jeff Smith recounts his troubled summer
By Jo Mannies, Beacon Political Reporter
Posted 6:45 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 19: Former state Sen. Jeff Smith says he expects to report to prison in about six
weeks to begin serving his sentence of 12 months and one day, imposed this week as punishment for the felony
charges stemming from his 2004 bid for Congress.
Smith, 35, has yet to learn which federal prison will be his temporary home.
But in an interview Thursday, conducted largely via text messages (and confirmed by a phone call), the former
Democratic legislator from St. Louis did shed light on this summer's timeline of his troubles, which began on
June 1 when the FBI confronted his then-friend, now former state Rep. Steve Brown.
The FBI made Brown aware of incriminating tape recordings that the agency had obtained of at least one 2006
conversation between Brown and a Democratic operative, Skip Ohlsen, about illegal contact during Smith's
congressional campaign. Ohlsen has been sentenced to prison on unrelated charges.
(According to the federal indictment, Brown met with Ohlsen twice on Nov. 14, 2006 -- at a health club and a
Starbucks -- to exhort Ohlsen not to disclose to federal authorities that Ohlsen had gotten help from the Smith
campaign in raising money for a postcard blitz conducted by Ohlsen on behalf of Smith right before the 2004
(The postcards disparaged a rival, now-U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis. Smith ran afoul of the law
because he had denied to the Federal Election Commission, and later to the FBI, that his campaign had
coordinated with Ohlsen. Coordination would have required the Smith campaign to foot the bill, and report the
expenditures. It did neither.)
At that June 1 meeting with the FBI, Brown admitted guilt and agreed immediately to the agency's request that
he wear a wire to record conversations with Smith and former campaign aide Nick Adams.
The recorded conversations were as late as June 30, Smith said. One of them featured the now-infamous
discussion about purchasing throw-away cell phones so that the trio could avoid detection from authorities.
Smith first met with the FBI on June 30, and continued to deny any coordination with Ohlsen during the
congressional campaign.
On July 12, Smith said, he learned that Brown had been wired and had taped their conversations. Smith said he
immediately hired local defense attorney Richard Greenberg.
As Smith recalls, he listened to Brown's tapes in mid-July, roughly the week before his annual 3-on-3 basketball
tournament and community fair in his district.
Smith was accompanied by Greenberg as he met with FBI investigators. "My attorney advised me to say nothing
and show no emotion when we listened to the tapes," Smith wrote.
"I did as instructed. Then, after consultation with my attorney, decided to plead guilty and contacted Hal
(Goldsmith, assistant U.S. attorney) immediately."
Smith said his only concern at that time "was I wanted assurances" from the U.S. attorney's office "that they
would not indict before the 3-on-3 tournament which we'd spent months preparing for."
Smith indicated that he was mystified by Goldsmith's comment in court Tuesday, during the sentencing of
Adams, that investigators "never saw a 'light' go on in Mr. Smith's head." The inference was the legislator failed

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to recognize the seriousness of his illegal actions when he had continued to deny any campaign contact with
"I talked to Goldsmith in late July a few days after hearing the tapes," Smith wrote. "I sat in his office and listened
to them without saying a word, per the instruction of my attorney -- thus, the prosecutor's apparent 'insight' into
my head."
When asked in the interview with the Beacon whether he had been stonewalling, Smith replied, "I was not 'still
stonewalling.' I said nothing."
"I told Goldsmith everything once we were assured that the indictment wouldn't be public until after the tourney."
Smith pleaded guilty to federal felony charges of obstruction of justice, along with Brown and Adams, weeks
later, on Aug. 25. (The two others were each sentenced Tuesday to two years probation.)
Smith and Brown resigned their legislative posts. Brown, a lawyer, has surrendered his license and is disbarred.
Smith, who has a doctorate, also lost his post as an adjunct professor of political science at Washington
Why was there a delay of several weeks in the indictments and guilty pleas, after Smith had admitted all to
federal prosecutors? "The plea was in late August because the U.S. Atty pushed for some things in the
stipulation of facts that were not true, or that I did not know," Smith said.
"For instance, I tried to keep other members of my campaign staff out of the indictment. If I was not aware that
they had met with Ohlsen, I did not want to agree to a stipulation of facts claiming that they had."
As for reports that the FBI wanted him to wear a wire, in an attempt to catch other local politicians, Smith would
say only, "I could not provide the assistance sought by the government. I'll leave it at that."
Smith said his last voice conversation with Brown was sometime between June 30 and July 12, although Brown
has sent some text messages since then.
Smith said he expects no future contact with Brown or with Adams.
Of Brown, he added, "Everyone has choices. Steve Brown had one, and so did I. We live with the consequences
of our choices."
At Tuesday's sentencing, Greenberg and Judge Carol Jackson noted that more than 100 people had written
letters on Smith's behalf, requesting some leniency by the court because of his various civic activities. Smith
says the total was more than 250.
The letter writers included Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, acting in a personal capacity, and St. Louis
Mayor Francis Slay. The full list is sealed, although Political Fix has somehow obtained an interesting rundown.
A spokeswoman for Koster said Thursday that he had no further comment about his letter.
Jackson's decision to sentence Smith to one year and a day in prison could well mean that he'll be out in 10
months, if he exhibits good behavior. It's the extra day that makes the difference.
Under federal guidelines, a sentence of 12 months or less must to served fully. But the extra day gives Smith a
sentence of more than a year, thus allowing more latitude for prison officials.
What are his current plans until he enters prison? "Before I leave," Smith wrote, "I am spending time with my
family and close friends, reading, and writing."

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                               C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 12 of 19

Senate (and some House) staffers collect almost
3,000 items for the needy at Thanksgiving
We told you, earlier in the week, about the food drive launched by State Senate staffers ... with the help
of some House staffers who work on the joint committees. And I promised I would bring you a total of
the number of food items and packages of diapers that had been collected in an effort that began on
November 2nd and wrapped up Thursday at noon.

The magic number is ... 2,989 items!!!

You were also told there was a competition among the various floors at the State Capitol. Well, the
folks from the fourth floor won the contest with 1,055 items brought in ... followed by the second and
third floors with 1,025 items ... and the people on the first floor and in the basement came up with 909
items. It was a very close competition and Missourians who depend on contributions made to the
Samaritan Center of Jefferson City really win big.

Congratulations to all the Senate (and some House) staffers.


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                                    C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 13 of 19

Davis: "Not the job of government or schools"
to vaccinate against H1N1
By Jo Mannies, Beacon Political Reporter
Posted 11:15 p.m. Thurs., Nov. 19: Amid all the outrage that U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield, is displaying
over the H1N1 vaccine shortage, it's interesting that a fellow Republican -- state Rep. Cynthia Davis -- is letting
government off the hook.
"It is not the job of the government or the schools to provide vaccines," Davis, R-O'Fallon, writes in her latest
weekly newsletter.
"Schools are educational institutions, not health institutions," she continued. "The ones that have offered
vaccinations were trying to be helpful, but ultimately this decision should be worked out between you and your
 Davis offers her defense of the public institutions as she is pictured standing in front of an area school that
cancelled its vaccination event because of the shortage.
"Some of my constituents are asking me questions about the process. Beyond this being an interesting study of
supply and demand, here are my thoughts," she wrote, adding:

"I think I’m one of those who are immune to the virus. That’s good because I shake a lot of hands. I never really
worried about getting either the flu or the vaccine, although I realize many of my constituents are very
concerned. People have been getting sick since sin entered the world. Germs spread far and fast. This one
was remarkable because of media attention received. Usually we don’t know from where a virus originated, and
complications are simply treated with antibiotics. "

..."While it is true that this flu is highly contagious, it is not virulent. Experts are saying it is actually milder than
the regular seasonal flu. You can scare a lot of people with statistics, but the reality is that people die in our
country every day from many different causes, so those numbers are deceiving. It would be more helpful if the
statistics were broken down by the complications from which they die rather than just calling it the flu. The
majority of those who have died had underlying high-risk medical conditions before they got the flu...."

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                                    C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 14 of 19

EDITORIALS … & Letters to the Editor
Agreement would help Missouri colleges and their students

Our Opinion
By The Examiner's Editorial Board

The Examiner
Posted Nov 18, 2009 @ 11:33 PM
Eastern Jackson County, MO — For a second year, Missouri’s public universities have been offered half a loaf –
and have gladly taken it. They are probably acting shrewdly and in the best interests of their students.
Gov. Jay Nixon this week announced an agreement under which the state’s 13 public universities would accept
a 5.2 percent cut in state funding – $42 million – and agree to hold the line on tuition for a second year. The
bargain the universities are buying into is that the cuts won’t be any worse than that.
There are a couple of ―hold it a minute‖ points. First, this is for in-state, undergraduate tuition only, not room and
board and books. Second – and this is the big ―if‖ – the General Assembly and the universities’ governing boards
still have to sign off on the deal.
Last time around, there was some muttering among legislators, but they went along. This time, who’s to say? But
it’s clear that the budget battles next spring in Jefferson City will be painful and intense. Perhaps legislators will
conclude that the deal at least relieves them of one headache and lets the universities keep doing business with
some degree of certainty about their finances. Otherwise, it could get ugly. It’s happened before.
The deal also gives students and parents a little breathing space. College costs have for years risen significantly
more quickly than inflation, and that’s one of the things putting a squeeze on the middle class. The bigger point
is that access to higher education is the main underpinning of America’s middle class. The state has a short-term
interest in balancing the books and continuing to deliver services. It has a profound and long-term interest in a
well-educated workforce and population.

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                                  C o l l e c t e d / A r c h i v e d f o r F r i d a y , N o v e m b e r 2 0 , 2 0 0 9 -- Page 15 of 19

Payday loans
Time for control?
COLUMBIA DAILY TRIBUNE               By Henry J. Waters III
Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rep. John Burnett of Kansas City has tried to rein in the activities of the payday loan industry in Missouri every
year since he joined the Missouri General Assembly in 2002. Now he is joined in the crusade by our own Mary
The Democrats believe it’s time to reform Missouri law, which is almost alone in its laxity among all states in the
union. Last year Still introduced a law, but House Speaker Ron Richard failed to schedule a hearing until an
impossibly late minute, reflecting the general legislative disinterest in the issue. Taking it to the people, the two
staged a hearing Monday here in Columbia.
Still and Burnett swim against a strong libertarian current favoring a laissez faire approach. However,
libertarianism, a blessed concept, has limits that have been broached in some practices allowed for payday loan
The worst excess seems to be churning, in which companies are allowed to re-energize short-term loans
repeatedly, which can produce annual interest rates of nearly 2,000 percent. Reformers believe these borrowers
are vulnerable and deserve protection, as almost all other states have done. They want to set limits on how
much lenders can charge and limit how often loans can be cycled.
According to the state Department of Finance, in the year ending Sept. 30, 2008, in Missouri the average annual
interest rate charged by these companies was 430.58 percent. On average, loans were recycled 1.7 times. None
of the eight surrounding states allows any renewals at all, and all have much more stringent limits on the amount
of interest that can be charged. The result is many more payday loan licenses in Missouri and many more
complaints received by Missouri regulators than in other states.
Still and Burnett take heart from a federal law sponsored by former U.S. Rep. Jim Talent limiting payday interest
rates for military families to 36 percent a year and forbidding renewal rollovers altogether. Missouri law allows as
many as six rollovers. Interest rate limits in surrounding states are not as strict as the federal rule but much more
so than Missouri’s.
The payday loan industry maintains a strong defensive line, so far impenetrable. Randy Scherr, representing
Missouri payday companies, said at the hearing that customer surveys show the vast majority of clients
understand the terms of their loans and are satisfied with the service, which meets short-term emergency needs
not met by other financial institutions. He said publicly traded payday companies only earn about 6.6 percent on
income, half that earned by International House of Pancakes. Scherr asked why, if payday lending is as wildly
profitable as critics say, major banks aren’t in the business.
Critics often cite moral issues, as if payday borrowers are inevitably hapless souls trapped and extorted by
lenders. They liken needed reforms to usury laws, a good analogy. Usury laws are warranted, but only within
limits. In a perfect free-market setting, one would leave borrowers and lenders alone to make and execute their
But when sellers have extraordinary advantage and buyers aren’t adequately equipped to fairly negotiate, rules
are needed. Rules in Missouri concerning the payday loan industry are almost unique, at the fringe of the
regulatory spectrum. The legislation to be introduced by Still and Burnett in the coming session deserves a full
hearing, debate and passage in a form similar to laws in every other state in our neighborhood.

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Letter to the Editor: Waxman-Markey
bill bad for Mo.
By Rep. Walt Bivins

Hannibal Courier-Post
Posted Nov 19, 2009 @ 07:53 PM
Hannibal, MO — I write today to express my opposition to the Waxman-Markey bill and the cap and trade energy
policies in this and other bills before congress. This legislation promises a devastating effect on our economy
and do more harm than good. In short, it’s wrong for the economy and it’s wrong for Missouri.
Analysts predict this bill will dramatically increase the cost of fuels citizens and businesses use every day. As a
result, the financial burden on the American consumer will undoubtedly grow as the prices for gasoline, diesel
and home heating oil rise.
The Senate needs to take a hard look at the numerous consequences of operating a trading program like the
one proposed. Americans will be forced to further tighten their purse strings whether our elected officials in
Washington want to believe it or not. Additionally, the renewable energy standard in this and other bills will harm
us as we are forced to pay more for our energy.
Our country is suffering from one of the worst economic recessions since the Great Depression. Frankly, it is just
financially irresponsible to consider legislation that would impose the biggest tax hike in American history when
so many people and businesses are already struggling to make ends meet. Our country simply cannot afford to
take this gamble at this time.
I hope you share my concerns and will contact our elected officials in Washington to oppose this legislation.
Rep. Walt Bivins
Chairman of the (Missouri) House Special Committee on Energy and the Environment

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Anti-dropout program in southwest Missouri could go statewide
by Bob Priddy on November 19, 2009
in Education, Human Interest
Almost four dozen southwest Missouri school districts are wrapping up a special week focusing on improving
high school graduation rates. The effort is considered a pilot project that could go statewide.
The thought behind the ―graduation matters‖ effort is to plant the idea of graduation in students’ minds when
they’re young and to create a community graduation climate led by faith-based organizations, business groups,
schools, parents, and others.
Joplin superintendent C. J. Huff says the message for other districts is that the community must have a unified
message for its children. ―Students dropping out of school is not acceptable and the only option is to get, at the
minimum, your high school diploma. You get everybody saying it over and over again…The main thing is to
continue to have that united message and to never give up.‖ he says.
Huff says this has been a special week of emphasis but the effort has been underway for some time. He says
the results are immediately visible. As he puts it, ―We’re making a difference every day. We’re saving kids every
He thinks the program can work anywhere.

Missouri receives federal dollars for “green” jobs training
by Steve Walsh on November 19, 2009
in Politics & Government
Missouri has been awarded more than $1.2 million in federal economic stimulus money to help train people for
so-called green jobs. The money is headed to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, which will
have its Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) use the funding to collect and analyze
labor market information to assess its impact in energy efficiency and renewable energy industries.
―We understand that green jobs already have a significant part of Missouri’s economy,‖ said the Department of
Economic Development’s John Fougere in an interview with the Missourinet. ―But in the future they’re going to
be an even bigger part of our new economy and it will be essential for Missouri’s continued economic
Just how significant is the green economy to Missouri?
―I think some people may not realize the impact the green economy already has in Missouri,‖ said Fougere. ―We
have been engaging in a survey of green jobs in Missouri that has shown us that right now we have nearly five
percent of the state’s total employment – or more than 130,000 positions – that are tied in some way to the
green economy.‖
The state applied for this money because it feels Missouri must embrace the green economy.

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―We believe that’s something that’s going to increase over the years and that green jobs will be essential to our
continued economic prosperity,‖ said Fougere. ―It’s in our best interest to make sure we have a workforce that’s
trained and skilled and ready to fill some of these positions.‖
The research compiled by MERIC will be used to guide worker training and retraining efforts in Missouri’s 43
Career Centers.

MOSERS: State employees’ retirement fund solid
by Jessica Machetta on November 19, 2009
in Uncategorized
The Missouri State Employee Retirement System has taken some hits along with other investors during the
economic downturn, but says its portfolios are solid and Missouri state workers’ retirement funds are safe and
doing well.
Rick Dahl — MOSERS Chief Investment Officer — says as long-term investors, MOSERS doesn’t focus on
short-term setbacks. Dahl also says because the system has some three thousand holdings and is extremely
diversified, it’s more insulated from market drops.
Dahl says in 2008, when the global market saw a 40 percent decline, MOSERS holdings only fell about 23
percent. And he says current market indicators are positive.
Dahl says the rebound is welcome … but not surprising since history shows temporary ebbs and flows. He says
MOSERS financial analysts are cautiously optimistic its investment earnings will continue to rise.
The State Employee Retirement System — MOSERS — is doing better than most investors after a stock market
drop and amid the current rebound.
Rick Dahl — MOSERS Chief Investment Officer — says it manages retirement funds for state workers for as
long as 60 years … the span of a career … which makes these quick hits less painful.
Dahl says in 2008, when the global market saw a 40 percent decline, MOSERS holdings only fell about 23
percent. He says that’s because MOSERS has about three thousand holdings. That diversification protects the
portfolio from any one sector of the market having a significant negative impact.
―What we do have is asset allocation that’s about 45 percent in stocks, 30 percent in fixed income type
securities, another 25 percent in things that we call alternative investments: real estate, private equity,
timberland, commodities investments,‖ he says. ―The equity market has been very strong. That portfolio is up
about 26 percent for the year; 15.9 percent for last quarter. The bond portfolio is up about 14 percent, about 6
percent for the quarter; the alternatives are up about 4.4. percent for quarter, for the calendar year, they’ve
declined about 2.9 percent, driven in large part by continued weakness in the real estate market.‖

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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16 -- Williamsburg — A woman and her infant son died in a home explosion in
Callaway County. The house was destroyed in the explosion. The bodies of Amber Smith, 20, and Simon Smith,
4 months, were found in the debris. The state fire marshal's office is investigating.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 19 -- Jefferson City — A Missouri grand jury indicted a 15-year-old on a charge of
first-degree murder in the slaying of her 9-year-old neighbor. The teenager is accused of killing Elizabeth Olten
by strangling the girl, cutting her throat and stabbing her on Oct. 21. The indictment Wednesday came hours
after a Cole County judge ruled she should stand trial as an adult. She is being held without bond.

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 20 -- St. Louis — The St. Louis and Kansas City areas, along with Ste. Genevieve
County, have violated air quality standards and may be forced to impose new restrictions. The state Department
of Natural Resources said ozone levels were above the eight-hour standard at some points during the April 1 to
Oct. 31 ozone season.

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