Cole County Circuit Judge Richard Callahan has issued rulings in two cases, with one of those cases affecting the look of the November ballot.
The judge has dismissed an effort to remove, from the ballot, Proposition A – the initiative which would change rules pertaining to casinos and provide additional school funding. There were two main components to the challenge: The fiscal note and the question of whether there was a violation of the so-called Hammerschmidt rule – a constitutional requirement that any provision of any bill must relate to the original purpose and title of that bill.
The second case, brought by the Kansas City Symphony, involves money collected for the arts. Statutes provide that 60 percent of state income taxes collected from nonresidential professional athletes and entertainers are to be paid into the Missouri Arts Council Trust Fund. But the Legislature appropriates and doesn’t always go along with statutes.
In his ruling, upholding the Legislature’s right to appropriate as it sees fit, Judge Callahan writes: "The legislative practice of enacting new taxes with a claimed promise to taxpayers as to how the money will be spent is all too common, bringing to mind the old axiom, ‘Fool me once, shame on you; fool be twice, shame on me.’ Unfortunately, while there are many statutes with seeming ‘promises’ by the Legislature as to how revenues from a particular tax will be spent, these ‘promises’ are but empty words that have no legal consequence."