July 31, 2014

President Obama bashes Congress, calls for end to cynicism (AUDIO)

President Obama has lambasted Congress as being out of touch with the average American family, and calls today’s House authorization for a lawsuit against him “a political stunt.”

The President’s half-hour speech in front of a friendly audience of about 1,500 in Kansas City defended his economic policies and the forty actions he says he has had to take through executive order because Congress has refused to act on economic policies that he says would create an economy “that works for everybody.”

Obama says the economy has turned around so well that people are seeking to invest in the United States, not China, “and our lead is growing.”   But he complained that the Republican-led House of Representatives has blocked every idea that helps working families.

“The folks in Washington, sometimes they’re focused on everything but your concerns,” he told the audience.  He said special interests in Washington prefer the status quo that favors their interests .  “They’re counting on you getting cynical so you don’t vote and don’t get involved ….And the more you do that, then the more power the special interests have and the more entrenched the status quo becomes,” he said.

“You can’t afford to be cynical,” he said at the end, “Cynicism didn’t put a man on the moon.  Cynicism didn’t win women the right to vote. Cynicism did not get a Civil Rights Act signed.  Cynicism has never won a war. Cynicism has never cured a disease.  Cynicism has never started a business. Cynicism has never fed a child…You don’t have time to be cynical.”

AUDIO: Obama sp;eech 34:53

President Obama to talk economy in Kansas City

The White House says President Barack Obama will visit Kansas City next week.

President Barack Obama delivers his 2013 State of the Union address.  (Courtesy; White House Media Affairs)

President Barack Obama delivers his 2013 State of the Union address. (Courtesy; White House Media Affairs)

According to the White House Media Affairs office, “On Tuesday, July 29, President Obama will travel to the Kansas City, MO area. He will remain overnight. On Wednesday, July 30 he will deliver remarks on the economy and return to Washington, D.C. More details about the President visit to the Kansas City area will be made available in the coming days.

State tallies last of the fiscal year bad news (AUDIO)

Suppose you learn at the end of the year that you not only didn’t get that little raise you were expecting but your pay was cut a little bit. However, suppose that little increase you expected was somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-500 million. And that little cut was about $80 million.

That’s the state the state of Missouri is in. The final numbers show state income dropped by a full percentage point in the last fiscal year instead of increasing by four to six percent–the legislature and the Governor couldn’t agree on which figure was right. And it turns out neither was, leading to budget vetoes and withholding actions by Governor Nixon.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering has put most of the blame on reduced capital gains taxes. But they’re not the only culprits. She says spring sales tax revenue and income tax collections showed some impact of the bad winter. And she says the state is feeling some impact from prior tax cuts. A new corporate tax cut has kicked in.

Luebbering says there are indicators the worst is over. Increased withholding taxes mean more people are working and making more money…and a slight uptick in sales tax collections indicates Missourians are loosening the purse strings.

AUDIO: Luebbering interview 5:46


Nixon approves truce with Kansas (AUDIO)

The state of Missouri is telling Kansas it’s ready to end the economic development border war.   Kansas has not agreed, yet, though.

Governor Nixon has signed Senator Ryan Silvey’s bill saying Missouri and Kansas will set up an eight-county district in the Kansas City area where neither state will offer tax incentives for a company to cross the state line.

Silvey says studies show no new jobs have been created; they’ve just been shuffled around.

                                  AUDIO: Silvey :23

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback can agree to the truce with an executive order. He has not said publicly if he’ll issue one.

House votes to complete overturn of veto, tax cut bill set to become law

The state House has voted to overturn Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax bill, SB 509. After the Senate voted earlier Monday 28-3 to overturn Nixon’s veto, House Republicans led a 109-46 vote to complete the overturn.

All 108 Republicans in the House were joined by one Democrat, Representative Keith English (D-Florrisant), who walked into the chamber long enough to cast his vote and then immediately left again. He was not present for votes on Monday or prior to the override vote on Tuesday.

The proposal would reduce the top personal income tax rate of from 6-percent to 5.5-percent over 10 years starting in 2017 if state general revenue growth continues. The bill would also phase in a 25-percent deduction for business income reported on personal tax returns. State revenues would have to keep rising by at least $150-million over their highest point in the previous three years.

The legislature’s fiscal note on the cut says it would reduce state revenue by $620-million annually. Republicans say because the cuts are triggered by increases in revenue, that loss would be offset before any state services and programs have to be cut.

Nixon has argued that the wording of the bill could also result in the elimination of taxes on all income beyond $9,000 annually, resulting in a cut of $4.8-billion dollars annually to state revenue. Republicans legislative leaders have dismissed those concerns as “laughable” and an attempt at distraction.