Election Day, Nov. 8, is now less than a month away. Most people I talk to say they will be glad when it is over. To say it mildly, this is an unusual election year, both at the state and national levels. Missouri State Representatives are elected every two years with limits of four terms. My schedule has been extremely busy finishing my second term. Caucus & committee meetings, Veto Session, parades and summer town events, church festivals, resolution presentations, drafting bills for the upcoming 2017 legislative session, along with all the campaign functions, makes for around the clock activities. However it provides me the opportunity to meet and visit with many constituents in our great district.
Several people have asked me about the amendments that will be on the Nov. 8 ballot; I wanted to recap them in order for everyone. Some people say the language on the ballot can be somewhat confusing or that people are in a hurry to vote and do not take or have the time to study the amendments. One constituent told me he studies the amendments prior to election day, writes down on paper his decision on each, then is ready to check 'Yes' or 'No' from his notes on each one. Good Idea!
In order as the Constitutional Amendments and Proposition should/may appear:
Amendment 1: Shall Missouri continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites, and resubmit this tax to the voters for approval in 10 years? The measure continues and does not increase the existing sales and use tax of one-tenth of one percent for 10 years. The measure would continue to generate approximately $90 million annually for soil and water conservation and operation of the state park system.
Amendment 2: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
-- establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political
committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office;
-- prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions;
-- require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such
-- provide a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment?
It is estimated this proposal will increase state government costs by at least $118,000 annually and have an unknown change in costs for local governmental entities. Any potential impact to revenues for state and local governmental entities is unknown.
Amendment 3: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
-- increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total
60 cents per pack of 20;
-- create a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes, which
fee shall increase annually; and
-- deposit funds generated by these taxes and fees into a newly established Early Childhood Health
and Education Trust Fund?
When cigarette tax increases are fully implemented, estimated additional revenue to state government is $263 million to $374 million annually, with limited estimated implementation costs. The revenue will fund only programs and services allowed by the proposal. The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown.
Amendment 4: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use or similar tax as of January 1, 2015? Potential costs to state and local governmental entities are unknown, but could be significant. The proposal's passage would impact governmental entity's ability to revise their tax structures. State and local governments expect no savings from this proposal.
(PLEASE NOTE: If you are not in favor of being taxed on services, such as car repair labor, haircuts, etc. you may want to vote 'Yes'.)
Amendment 6: Shall the Constitution of Missouri be amended to state that voters may be required by law, which may be subject to exception, to verify one's identity, citizenship, and residence by presenting identification that may include valid government-issued photo identification? The proposal amendment will result in no costs or savings because any potential costs would be due to the enactment of a general law allowed by this proposal. If such a general law is enacted, the potential costs to state and local government is unknown, but could exceed $2.1 million annually.
(PLEASE NOTE: This is the Voter ID Bill that the House and Senate Overrode the Governor's Veto in September. The Bill indicated that, if passed, the Legal Voters of Missouri would decide if an ID was required to vote.)
Shall Missouri law be amended to:
-- increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total
23 cents per pack of 20;
-- increase the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer's
-- use funds generated by these taxes exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects;
-- repeal these taxes if a measure to increase any tax or fee on cigarettes or other tobacco
products is certified to appear on any local or statewide ballot?
State government revenue will increase by approximately $95 million to $103 million annually when cigarette and tobacco tax increases are fully implemented, with the new revenue earmarked for transportation infrastructure. Local government revenues could decrease approximately $3 million annually due to decreased cigarette and tobacco sales.
I hope this information will help everyone to better understand what we are voting on Nov. 8. I highly encourage everyone to schedule your time to VOTE. It is an honor to serve as your Missouri House Representative. Never hesitate to call or email my office if I or my Legislative Assistant, June Cardwell, may be of help in some way. There have been many of you who have contacted my office with concerns, so called "road blocks" with a specific state department, or just needing information at the state level. Remember, I do not have authority over state departments, but we will contact or put you in contact with someone in a specific department that may be able to help. If you are ever near Jefferson City at any time during the year, please feel free to visit our Capitol office, Room 235BB.
I seek the Lord's guidance everyday to help me do my job and to represent the people in the 48th district.
Thank you for reading this Capitol Report. If you know anyone who would be interested in receiving the Capitol Report, please have them email Dave.Muntzel@house.mo.gov or call 573-751-0169.