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Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

Voters to decide five constitutional issues next Tuesday

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, Missouri voters will decide two constitutional amendments and three statutory amendments.

Proposition A is possibly the most controversial issue on the ballot this year. The amendment, which was proposed by an initiative petition, will establish the Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Improvement Fund by increasing the casino gambling tax from 20 percent to 21 percent. The new fund would be audited annually.

The amendment contains provisions to repeal the current $500 individual maximum loss limit for gambling, prohibit future loss limits, require identification to enter the gambling area and restrict the number of casinos to those already built or being built.

The proposed amendment will increase the casino gambling tax only. It is estimated that state governmental entities will receive between $105.1 and $130 million annually for elementary and secondary education, and $5 to $7 million annually for higher education, early childhood development, veterans and other programs.

A "yes" vote on Proposition A will amend state law to repeal the individual maximum loss limit for gambling, increase the casino gambling tax and create the new education fund from gambling tax proceeds.

A "no" vote will maintain the current individual maximum loss limit of $500 for each gambling excursion without increasing the gambling tax or establishing the Schools First Elementary and Secondary Education Improvement Fund.

Another issue that will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot relates to the financing of stormwater control projects. Constitutional Amendment No. 4 will limit the availability of grants and loans to public water and sewer districts only.

Amendment No. 4, which was proposed by the 94th General Assembly, will also remove a cap on available funding and restrictions on disbursements and require loan repayments to be used only for stormwater control projects.

The proposed amendment will have no impact on taxes but could cost state governmental entities up to $236,000 annually. It is estimated that state entities will save around $7,500 for each bond issuance. Although local municipalities could also experience a savings, the amount of savings is unknown.

According to current law, the Missouri Legislature is allowed to issue bonds and other types of debt in order to provide municipalities and wastewater and sewer districts with grants and loans for stormwater control projects.

A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to change the provisions relating to the financing of stormwater control projects.

Voters will also decide Proposition B, which was proposed by an initiative petition. The proposition, if approved, will create the Missouri Quality Homecare Council, which will support the Medicaid program by recruiting and training home healthcare workers.

If approved, the proposition could cost state governmental entities more that $500,000 per year. Additional costs could be acquired for training. The proposition would not effect the finances of local governments, and the measure will have no impact on taxes.

A "yes" vote on Proposition B will amend the state law to form the Missouri Homecare Council, which will be responsible for supporting quality home care services under the Medicaid program.

Proposition C, which was also proposed by an initiative petition, will require investor-owned electric utilities to generate or purchase electricity from renewable energy sources. If approved, at least 2 percent of all retail sales must be generated by solar, wind, biomass or hydro power by 2011.

The proposition requires utilities to increase the amount of renewable energy used to 15 percent by 2021. According to the proposal, at least 2 percent of the energy used in 2021 must be obtained through solar energy.

The proposition restricts utilities from increasing consumer rates for renewable energy by more than 1 percent.

Proposition C is estimated to cost state governmental entities around $400,000. The measure will have no impact on taxes.

Local governments will notice no direct costs or savings associated with the proposition, however indirect costs may be incurred by state and local governments if the proposal results in increased electric rates.

A "yes" vote will amend the state law and require utilities to generate or purchase a percentage of electricity from renewable energy sources.

Amendment No. 1, if approved, will amend the Missouri Constitution to add a statement that English shall be the language of all governmental meetings at which any public business is discussed, decided or public policy is formulated.

The proposed amendment will apply to meetings that are conducted in person or using any communication equipment, including conference calls, video conferences or Internet chat or message board.

The amendment, which was proposed by the 94th General Assembly, will have no impact on taxes and provide no costs or savings to state or local governmental entities.

A "yes" vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to add a statement that English shall be the language used at all governmental meetings at which public business is discussed.



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