It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing today that I will not be seeking re-election this November. Nearly 5 years ago I sought this office in an attempt to help make Missouri, and Kansas City specifically, a great place to live, work, learn and play. Since that time I have knocked on thousands of doors, talked to thousands of individuals, and have done my very best to represent the desires and wishes of the wonderful people who elected me to two full terms in the Missouri House of Representatives.
Also since that time, I have welcomed two new people into my life, my daughters Isabelle and Caroline. While my love for Kansas City has never been stronger, and my desire to serve and make our community the best it can be will never falter, my desire to spend more quality time with my young family outweighs it all.
I do not know what lies ahead for me professionally – there is plenty of time for that in the coming months. For now, I look forward to the next 10 months fighting for the things the people of Kansas City have asked me to fight for. And in January of 2017, I look forward to returning to private life and spending more time at home with my family while continuing to help make our community great.
I want to thank the hundreds of people who have supported my campaigns through donations, volunteer hours, and of course through your votes. Together I believe we accomplished many great things – with a few more still on the horizon this legislative session. Since getting elected I have fought successfully to make child care safer and more affordable in our state, I have helped advance sensible tax policy like the Earned Income Tax Credit, and have ushered through legislation to improve our juvenile justice system in Missouri. This year I’m focused on reforming the way we elect the President of the United States, allocating resources to help child victims of abuse and neglect, and improving civics education outcomes in the state. There will always be more work to be done, but I am proud of the accomplishments of the last few years and I hope those of you who have supported me feel proud of the important role you played in making these things happen as well.
Serving in the Legislature continues to be a tremendous privilege and I am forever grateful to the folks who sent me here on their behalf. I look forward to working tirelessly over the next 10 months to do good things in Jefferson City. And after that, I look forward to spending the childhood years of my children a little closer to home.
A combination of football and public protest will do that.
This morning two members of the Missouri House, Representative Jeremy LaFaver (D) and Representative Caleb Jones (r) engaged in a conversation about the University of Missouri via Twitter:
Jeremy LaFaver @jeremylafaver
It will be interesting to see if MU caves to the latest legislative temper tantrum. Their lobbying team is knocking it out of the park…. 8:44 AM – 5 Jan 2016
Caleb Jones @calebmjones
@jeremylafaver not a temper tantrum. You have kids. Is that who you want teaching them? You should sign up [….] 8:45 AM – 5 Jan 2016
Really? A member of the Missouri General Assembly pushes an anonymous web site attacking two faculty at the University of Missouri on the same morning that domain and web site go up?
You know, if someone in the field of communications made a mistake, acknowledged that mistake, and apologized for it do you think they could offer salient observations about the experience, what they learned, and the processes of modern media to students?
There are several other tweets in the exchange. And, a few times, others joined in:
Eli Yokley @eyokley
@calebmjones @jeremylafaver I think it’s fascinating how the #CoMo delegation has completely flipped its tactics toward @Mizzou since I left 9:24 AM – 5 Jan 2016
….Moreover, the revenue triggers in the legislation only apply until the tax cuts are fully phased-in. After that time, under the legislature’s own estimates, there would be at least $620 million less in general revenue available each and every year, regardless of whether revenue collections are going up or down. In addition, the legislation’s annual cost would continue to grow above the legislature’s $620 million annual estimate because the income bracket adjustments in the bill for increases in the consumer price index would continue indefinitely. See Section 143.011.3. This provision alone would result in an additional $128 million in annual revenue reductions ten years after the legislation is fully phased-in, increasing each year in perpetuity….
A bill cannot be bipartisan when it needs a majority of only one party to pass it.
….English was a special guest at a private reception for Republican lawmakers on Tuesday night. He told members that he wanted to vote in favor of the bill when it was first brought up in the House, but that he was urged by Republican leadership to hold off until the override vote in an attempt to avoid pressure from Democrats, including the governor.
When you find yourself in a deep hole the first rule is to stop digging.
While the House was in session today, working to complete the process on budget bills by the deadline on Friday, we spoke with three representatives about the veto override vote of SB 509. Representative Keith English was the only Democrat in the General Assembly to vote to override Governor Nixon’s (D) veto:
Representative Keith English (D)(center) – May 6, 2014.
Show Me Progress: So, it’s been an, uh, something of an interesting week for you, hasn’t it?
Representative Keith English (D): Uh, it’s been a very interesting week. You know, um, I worked very hard with both sides of the aisle this week to make sure that, uh, we try to do what we can to make the state move forward, be more competitive with other states, stopping right to work and paycheck deception, stripping teachers of their pensions and the tenure. Um, I had to look really deep into, uh, legislation that we can be more competitive. And I think this bill is definitely gonna do that.
Show Me Progress: You’re, you’re referring to Senate Bill 509.
Representative English (D): Senate Bill 509, that’s correct. Senate Bill 509, uh, will take a two year period, the next two years, we’ll look at, uh, how much money we generate. Then on the third year, through the next five years after that, if, and that’s the big word, if, we can get small businesses, which are the backbone of this, this state, uh, to help generate seven hundred and fifty million dollars to the good, uh, we will, uh, give a little bit back to those businesses to reinvest in their companies to expand more.
And with the rising cost of health insurance, uh, under Obamacare, uh, and insurance companies, uh, dropping companies for uh, for different reasons, uh, and the possibility of the federal government increasing minimum wage to a possible ten dollars and ten cents an hour I feel strongly that we have to do something to tell the small businesses in Missouri, don’t move away, we’ll try to help you. Um, in my district we have businesses that are struggling so bad, uh, and with business of course, and if we can give them some incentive to hire more people, ’cause a lot of them have cut back, cut back to three and four employees when they had five and six. And being a small business owner, um, I know exactly what that feels like.
Show Me Progress: But, uh, didn’t, you know, in some ways, uh, uh, the, the concept of sort of an economic stimulus, per se, with this kind of, uh, cutting back of, of revenue in the sense of, of tax cut, per se [crosstalk] it’s, it’s, the bill made it structural though, and something that can’t be rolled back.
Representative English (D): Well, in the bill [crosstalk]…Well, there’s a failsafe in there, in case, if we don’t hit that hundred fifty million the bill dies. The bill will not move further. It has to, for the five years, has to increase a hundred and fifty million. The failsafe in this bill is, is that it will not cut funds to education. We have to increase seven hundred fifty million, if we don’t the bill’s moot. There’s a lot of people out there that are saying that there’s a possibility that this bill will not move forward, but we have to do something. We do have the lowest taxes of any state neighboring us, we do have the best cities, the best home structures, we have the greatest people and tools and resources. I don’t know what else to do to bring big business here. We’ve had Chrysler move out. Ford closed up and moved out. We’ve had so many businesses that have moved out of state. And if that’s the, the, the issue there, as we have lowest taxes, Florissant, that I represent, is one of the best places to retire. I want to make sure that this continues for a long time. And the only way I could see to do that in the legislation that we have, and the ideas that we have bipartisan sitting at the table, and I believe this was a bipartisan bill. Unfortunately the Governor vetoed it, it made it a partisan issue. I had four, maybe five other Democrats that wanted to be with this bill but just couldn’t go against the Governor. And I had to do something.
Representative Stephen Webber (D) [file photo].
Show Me Progress: So, how would you, how would you characterize the, uh, the vote on, um, the final vote on, uh, the override on SB 509?
Representative Stephen Webber (D): I mean, it’s certainly shortsighted, uh, to begin with. You know, if, if it’s a good idea it’s something that we should do now. The fact that people pushed off, um, the tax cuts so that they’ll never have to deal with the consequences of their actions, they’ll never actually have to budget, they’ll never actually have face the reality of not funding schools. Um, to me, that, that’s very irresponsible.
Show Me Progress: Would you characterize the bill as bipartisan?
Representative Webber (D): No, absolutely not. No. No, it’s clearly not. I mean, um, getting you know, less than two percent [one person] of the Democrats doesn’t make it a, a bipartisan bill.
Uh, I’ve described it as, it’s like, it’s like boiling a frog. You know, you put frog, a frog in the water and you turn up the heat. And so it feels good at first, and then it starts slowly, by the time you realize you’re burning, you’re boiling it’s, it’s too late. Uh, that’s the way this bill works. I mean it, it doesn’t, uh, fully implement for seven years at the earliest. And so every single member of this General Assembly will be termed out, um, before they have to face the true impact of cutting school funding, of not funding higher education. And at that point, all people are gonna know is there not money, there’s not money for these projects. They’re not gonna know who’s fault it is, they’re not gonna know who to blame, they’re not gonna , they’re not gonna say, oh, let’s go back to, in twenty twenty-two they’re not gonna say let’s go back to twenty fourteen and look at who voted for this bill. I mean, that’s not gonna happen. [crosstalk] Um.
Show Me Progress: Uh, so for, um, and, and, to be clear, the, the, the only way that the, the, the, the bill is reversible is if it comes to a vote of [crosstalk] of…
Representative Webber (D): We have to change the law again, right.
Show Me Progress: Well, you have to change the, and the change will have to go to a vote of the people due to the Hancock amendment.
Representative Webber (D): Correct. Correct.
Show Me Progress: And, and so, there is no sunset clause on any of this.
Representative Webber (D): No. Uh, and, and, they keep saying there’s these triggers and, and the folks that know that, uh, they know that’s incredibly misleading. They know that every year, um, that, the hundred fifty million dollars a year that you have to hit is eaten up very quickly in, in, you know, mandatory, uh, spending for federal match programs, um, I mean, inflation, population growth. It, it clearly will result in a, uh, cut to education funding. And they either, um, most of them know that and they’re just misleading people. Um, those that don’t know that are just uninformed.[….] It clearly will result in education cuts.
Representative Jeremy LaFaver (D) – May 8, 2014.
Show Me Progress: So, I want to talk with you about the, uh, Senate Bill 509, the veto override.
Representative Jeremy LaFaver (D): Uh huh.
Show Me Progress: Um, would you characterize, what, what would you characterize, the, the long term effect of the bill?
Representative LaFaver (D): Unknown. I think that there are a lot of things up in the air, particularly with the section that the Governor pointed out, that eliminates the top bracket. I think the long term effect, um, is truly unknown. It’s either gonna be bad or it’ll be devastating.
Show Me Progress: Would, would you characterize, uh, any part of the bill as bipartisan?
Representative LaFaver (D): No.
Show Me Progress: [….] Do you, is there, is, is there any easy way to fix any of the problems in the bill?
Representative LaFaver (D): No.
Show Me Progress: [….] Is there any kind of sunset provision in the bill?
Representative LaFaver (D): No.
Show Me Progress: None whatsoever?
Representative LaFaver (D): No. In order for us to fix it, uh, through the legislature anyway, we would have to pass something and then it would have to go to the voters as a tax increase. And so, if we’re gonna try and fix the, uh, section that the Governor is talking about we would have to then go back and approve a tax increase of four point eight billion dollars and ask Missourians to increase their taxes by four point eight billion.
There are people in Missouri and out who are laughing last.