Ameren UE set to try and raise electric rates... again

The Missouri Public Service Commission announced that it will hold 14 local public hearings in February and March in an electric rate case filed by Ameren UE.

On September 3, 2010, Ameren Missouri filed an electric rate case with the Missouri Public Service Commission seeking to increase annual electric operating revenues by approximately $263 million.  For the average residential customer the proposed increase would be approximately $9.30. Ameren Missouri's filing also includes a request to continue its fuel adjustment clause that reflects changes in the cost of fuel used to generate electricity on customers' bills through a separately-identified surcharge or credit outside a general rate case.

The public hearings in the metro are:

February 16-St. Louis. University of Missouri at St. Louis, Millennium Student Center-Century Room A, One University Blvd.  A PSC staff public information/question and answer session will start at 5:30 p.m. with the local public hearing and the taking of sworn testimony to follow.

February 17-St. Louis. Holiday Inn Southwest-Viking Conference Center, Salon 1, 10709 Watson Road.  A PSC staff public information/question and answer session will start at 11:30 a.m. with the local public hearing and the taking of sworn testimony to follow.

February 17-St. Louis. Julia Davis Regional Branch Library, Auditorium, 4415 Natural Bridge Avenue.  A PSC staff public information/question and answer session will start at 5:30 p.m. with the local public hearing and the taking of sworn testimony to follow.

February 22-O'Fallon.  O'Fallon Municipal Center, Multi-Purpose Room, 100 North Main.  A PSC staff public information/question and answer session will start at 5:30 p.m. with the local public hearing and the taking of sworn testimony to follow.

Comments from consumers may also be registered in the case by calling 1-800-392-4211, e-mail at pscinfo@psc.mo.gov or by using the Commission's electronic filing system at http://www.mailermailer.com/rd?https://www.efis.psc.mo.gov/mpsc/Comments.html.


Proposed Fair Tax--Only Fair For The Rich?

I just read a great blog article about one of the proposals that the GOP will try pushing through this legislative season down in Jefferson City. Basically, the proposal as it stood at the end of 2010, called for a state constitutional amendment that would eliminate the state income tax and replace it with a broader sales tax that its proponents call the 'fair tax.'

Amy Blouin, executive director of the Missouri Budget Project, warns that proposal would increase the financial burden on Missouri families. She explains the proposed rate would be higher, and would apply to services not currently subject to sales tax, such as child care, health and dental care, prescriptions and rent. At the same time, says Blouin, replacing the state income tax with the 'fair tax' will not ward off cuts to the state budget.

"When you really dig into it, it's a significant increase for the average person in taxes – but at the same time, it does not increase revenue and could diminish revenue in the state, dramatically."

To make sales tax income match our current income tax revenues, it is estimated that the statewide sales tax would have to be approximately 6 to 7 percent, up from the current 4.225 percent. In the first year of the phase-in, the proposal caps the amount of the sales tax at 7 percent. However, the language within the current proposal would allow the legislature to increase the state sales tax rate above that amount as the changes are phased in, without a vote of the people.

Missouri's new sales tax rate would be significantly higher than neighboring states. More significantly, no other state taxes services such as child care and health care as broadly as Missouri would under the current proposal.

Here is how the proposed tax rate of Missouri would compare with our neighbors:

  •  Proposed Missouri Sales Tax Rate: 7 percent (first year)
  • Arkansas: 6 percent
  • Iowa: 5 percent
  • Illinois: 6.25 percent
  • Kansas: 5.3 percent
  • Kentucky: 6 percent
  • Nebraska: 5.5 percent
  • Oklahoma: 4.5 percent
  • Tennessee: 7 percent
The "fair tax" proposal would raise taxes on 95 percent of Missouri individuals and families without generating any new revenue for services or benefits for families. Most Missourians would pay significantly more under this proposal, because the tax proposal shifts the responsibility of funding state services and infrastructure away from a diversely shared responsibility of individuals and corporations to one that relies entirely on the spending of individuals. Estimates are that in order to replace the revenue lost as a result of eliminating corporate and individual income tax, the increased sales tax rate would have to be at least 12.96 percent. And this does not even take into account people that live in border cities that will go to another state and spend their money (and taxes) in order to avoid spending extra inside the state.


How soon they forget...

So I see that the Missouri Leadership Project has a new bogey man in Jefferson City. Apparently they sent out the following memo to their members without checking to see that they people they helped elect actually helped to push it through the legislature in the first place. Whoops.

From: Missouri Leadership Project
Date: December 28, 2010 2:58:04 PM CST
Subject: Bill making YOU a felon... Rally at the Capital -- Opening Day of Session
Rally Day: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 -- Jefferson City, MO -- 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.   Join Us at the Consent of the Governed Rally
[NAME], Last spring a bill that would have made you, the average citizen activist, a felon almost became law. On May 6th, 2010, Senate Bill 844, the so-called Omnimbus Ethics Bill, blazed through Missouri's legislative process. In a single day, an unrelated one page bill morphed into 66 pages, passed through a standing House committee, the Rules Committee and then was finally passed on the House floor.  The legislative body had to vote on the bill an hour after receiving it. Some of the many provisions in the bill were designed to effectively squelch citizen involvement in the legislative process. One such provision would require a common citizen to register as a lobbyist if he or she "Attempts to influence any elected official other than an elected official who represents the legislative district where the person resides." (Page 16) The penalty for infraction?  A class D felony. (Page 19) Fortunately, some of the very citizens who would have been made felons raised the alarm and most of the offensive provisions were stripped out in a conference with the senate. The Lesson?  There have been times when some powerful leaders in the Missouri legislature didn't want you in the the way of their plans to manage your life and money. Our message for them? "We're from the People and we're here to help!" Please join us in sending this message on the opening day of the 2011 legislative session. We want to celebrate a revival of political concern and involvement among Missouri citizens, rejoice in the victories we have witnessed in 2010, welcome and encourage our incoming freshmen representatives, highlight strategic legislation for the coming session, and commit ourselves to working with our elected officials for the good of our state.
As we welcome the freshmen legislators we will remind them and the veteran lawmakers alike that they are there at the "Consent of the Governed".
Please plan to attend the rally and please forward this information to your list and invite other groups to participate.  We want more sponsor groups. Let's all help start the new session with a strong message of unity and support for the cause of liberty.
For liberty,
Sponsors of Consent of the Governed Rally Scheduled Speakers & Itinerary
Dave Roland
Rep. Ed Emery
David Linton
Steve Rupp
Bev Ehlen
Mitch Hubbard
Carl Bearden
January 5, 2011
1st. Floor Rotunda, Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO
9:30 - 10:00:  Come Early for Assistance locating your Rep. & Senator
10:00 - 11:30:  Speakers
11:30 - 12:00:  Take your place in the Senate Gallery (4th floor)
12:00:  Watch the Senate floor vote for the President Pro Tem
Visit with your senator and rep in their office. Sponsors Franklin County Patriots Missouri Campaign for Liberty Missouri First Women for America Jefferson County Tea Party Sullivan 9/12 Missouri Sovereignty Project Crawford County Campaign for Liberty Warren County Patriots Branson Tea Party Coalition Eureka Tea Party Lebanon Tea  Mid-MO Patriots K&N Patriots Buffalo Tea Party Capitol Tea Party Patriots Show Me Tea Central Camdenton Tea Party Lake Area Conservative Club Callaway Tea Party Mexico Tea Party Sikeston Tea Party We the People of St. Francois County (more coming)
Yep. The bill the MLP doesn't like and somehow forgot to mention that it was rammed through the House by Speaker-elect Steve Tilley, Rep. Tim Jones and then-Speaker Ron Richard over the objections of everyone who wasn't a member of the House GOP.  Color me surprised that politics in Jefferson City overrides the needs and wants of the population of the state just to make sure a few people (those already elected) get to keep running the state.

Check out the article on Fired Up Missouri