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It seems that Missouri Rep. Lyndall Fraker (R-137) thinks that sales taxes are threatening the survival of Missouri’s country clubs. To hear him tell it, “it’s just really hitting some of these clubs really hard.” That’s why he’s proposing a sales tax exemption on initiation fees and dues for private country clubs. Rich folks can only handle so much luxury spending after all, and when you’ve put down a bundle on the private school for your kid and put a new Mercedes in the garage, you’ve got to cut down, right? And we’ve got to keep those vitally important country clubs chugging along somehow, don’t we?

To put Fraker’s concern about the plight of country clubs into perspective, the Pitch characterized him in 2015 as “as one of the more lobbyist-greased elected officials,” adding:

Given that he’s been plied with more gifts than a spoiled 10-year-old on Christmas Day, it’s easy to see how someone like Fraker would think that holding a legislative meeting for the House Utility Infrastructure Committee at a country club paid for by a utility industry association is perfectly fine.

[…]

Fraker seemed unfazed by the criticism, telling MissouriNet on Monday that the meeting was just an opportunity for committee members to take in some information from MEDA president Trey Davis.

“I posted it up as a regular meeting just so we would be transparent, so the public would know we don’t have bills to hear but we’re going to have an informative meeting, an introductory meeting for our first meeting and all the utility members of all the committees can meet one another and get to know each other and get to know Trey’s organization,” Fraker told MissouriNet.

Nice to know that Fraker wanted to be transparent about not being transparent. But at least we now understand why he thinks country clubs are so important. A solid operator’s gotta give his lobbyist constituency the type of surroundings they’re used to if he’s gonna make an impression and maximize the take.

There’s a more of that perspective stuff that might also be useful in this case. This tax exemption will decrease revenue dollar for dollar in a state where the current budget shortfall is somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 million dollars. That shortfall will probably grow even larger after a newly enacted GOP tax cut that will cost the state $600 million dollars over five years goes into effect. (In case you haven’t noticed, Missouri Republican lawmakers are going for the Kansas effect – bust the budget and decimate the state’s economy because they really want to believe, contrary to Parmenides, that something wonderful can come from nothing.)

To focus that perspective business just a little more, consider the fact that in 2013 Missouri got a C- grade on the state of its infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Infrastructure includes roads, bridges, drinking water safety, levees, aviation systems, dams, school facilities, wastewater treatment facilities, inland waterways navigation systems, almost all of which are deteriorating and underfunded. Missouri schools are also seriously underfunded.

I could go on and on in the same vein – although Missouri may be doing better than Kansas, that’s not saying much. But, hey, Rep. Fraker’s got his priorities. Too bad they aren’t likely to benefit the people in his district.

Previously:

HB 276: because a private country club is exactly the same as charitable or veteran’s organizations (December 21, 2016)

HB 328: because a private tennis club is exactly the same as charitable or veteran’s organizations (December 27, 2016)