Election Day is finally behind us! Thank you to everyone in the 51st District for your support and votes. It is an honor to be your representative!
As you know, Missourians had a number of important ballot initiatives to consider on Tuesday. As the final ballots were tallied, voters had decided to reject both proposed cigarette tax increases, but supported the other measures on the ballot. Below is a brief summary of the election results.
Missouri Sees Major Changes on Election Day
Headed into Election Day, political experts and polling data predicted many of Missouri's races would go down to the wire with Republicans favored in some contests and Democrats in others. After the dust settled late Tuesday night, the pollsters and pundits were proven wrong. Missouri is now set to have a Republican governor for the first time since 2009, and Republicans will now hold the offices of Secretary of State, State Treasurer, Attorney General, and continue to hold the office of Lieutenant Governor. The only statewide office still held by a Democrat is State Auditor, which was not on the ballot this election.
When the House convenes for the 2017 session in January, the breakdown will be 117 Republicans to 46 Democrats. The margin gives Republicans 8 more votes than necessary to override a gubernatorial veto. In the Senate, Republicans will continue to have a veto proof majority as they will hold 24 of the 34 seats. However, with a Republican now set to hold the governor's office, the legislature's historic number of veto overrides in recent years will likely come to a halt as the legislative and executive branches instead work together on shared priorities.
Missourians Say Yes to Voter ID and Contribution Limits but No to Cigarette Tax Increases
As Tuesday began, Missourians had a number of important ballot initiatives to consider ranging in subject matter from enacting limits on campaign contributions to increasing the tax on cigarettes. Voters decided to reject both proposed cigarette tax increases.
Constitutional Amendment 1 -- Missouri's Parks, Soils and Water Sales Tax
More than 80 percent of Missouri voters chose to support Constitutional Amendment 1. The ballot measure will continue the state's one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used to support soil and water conservation, and for state parks and historic sites. The tax was first approved by voters in 1984, and then again in 1988, 1996, and 2006. The renewal of the tax is re- submitted to voters every 10 years under the state constitution. The tax generates approximately $90 million each year for soil and water conservation, and for the operation of the state park system.
Since the tax was last approved by voters in 2006, more than 61,000 conservation practices have been implemented through $348 million in cost-share grant projects. The funds are used to prevent soil from erosion and to maintain and improve Missouri's 88 parks and historic sites.
Constitutional Amendment 2 -- Campaign Contribution Limits
Nearly 70 percent of Missouri voters decided the state should establish campaign contribution limits. The change to the state constitution will limit contributions to individual candidates to $2,600 per election. It will limit contributions to political parties to $25,000 each election. The amendment is also designed to prevent individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of the contributions.
Constitutional Amendment 4 -- Prohibition on New Sales and Use Taxes
Constitutional Amendment 4 received 57 percent of the vote and is now set to go into effect to prohibit new state or local sales or use taxes on services. In effect, the proposal will ensure that governmental entities do not create new taxes on services such as a haircut or a repair service for a vehicle.
In recent years states like North Carolina and Washington have enacted taxes on services. North Carolina's new tax extends to services like auto repair, sign painting, and some heating and plumbing work. States have enacted the new taxes in an effort to make up for lagging revenues from lower sales tax collections. Amendment 4 will ensure similar taxes cannot be put into place in Missouri.
Constitutional Amendment 6 -- Voter Identification
With more than 63 percent of the vote, Constitutional Amendment 6 received strong support from Missouri voters who want to see the state implement a system of voter identification. Because of the passage to the state constitution, and legislation approved by the Missouri General Assembly, Missouri voters will now need to show a valid form of photo identification before voting.
Valid forms of identification will include photo IDs issued by the state, the federal government or the military. The proposal also will require the state to pay for individuals to obtain a valid ID if they do not have one, or to obtain documents necessary for an ID. Additionally, the new law contains a provision that will allow a voter without a valid photo ID to vote with a regular ballot by showing another form of identification.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.