Old Drum

Commentary on Warrensburg, Johnson County and Missouri issues from a Libertarian perspective. View my earlier commentary at www.olddrum.net.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Proposition B, Miniumum Wage

OK, I'm against this one, too. For both economic and philosphical reasons.

1. The minimum wage was designed as an entry-level wage for those building work skills, not for a full-time life-time living wage for those who never bother to gain the skills or education needed to move up the economic ladder. Very few people who make minimum wage one year are still at minimum wage 5 years later.

2. A wage increase will drive up wages based on the minimum; you can't pay an experienced worker the same as an entry-level one. That drives up prices. If it passes, be prepared to pay more at restaurants, grocery stores, virtually everywhere.

3. This proposal will cost jobs. If competitve conditions prevent a business from raising prices, the business will have to cut employees. Businesses will be more circumspect at hiring lower skilled entry-level employees - which will happen to hurt minority group more.

4. The indexing part of the proposal will hurt Missouri's competitive position in relation to other states.

5. It will make it more attractive for the less scrupulous employers to hire illegal immigrants, as long as immigration enforcement and penalties are so lax.

Amendment 7, Felon office holders

Vote against this one! It's a scam by the legislature. The main part of the amendment is unobjectionable; it says that if an officeholder is removed for a felony or impeached, they can't get the pension from holding that office. It's the other part that's a scam.

Currently, the so-called "citizens' commission" docilely recommends whatever pay raise the legislature wants. Then it hits the news and legislators hear from their constituents and vote down the pay raise by a simple majority. What's the change? If this thing passes, 2/3 of the members of both houses will have to vote against their own pay raise. So, if this passes, 65% of them can vote no, and still get the raise. Sneaky, huh?

Amendment 6, Veterans group tax exemption

Most veteran groups make money from facility rentals, bingo, donations, dues, and other fundraisers. The money goes to upkeep & utilities on the post building. Profits are supposed to be used for charitable purposes, such as the Legion baseball teams, donations to the Veterans' Homes, etc., since they are exempt from Federal tax under certain portions of Sec 501. However, some vet groups were not deemed to be fully fulfilling the charitable part of their charters, so local assessors decided to charge real/personal property taxes on their property. This amendment would give them an exemption (maybe).

Since I attended the local American Legion memebership night, and they weren't concerned about the situation, I'll probably vote against the amendment.

Amendment 3, Tobacco Tax

I'm definitely against this on, on several grounds.

1. It's a regressive tax, preying most heavily on those who can least afford it.
2. It's a constitutional amendment, enshrining government-funded health care in the state constitution. If the money provided by the tobacco tax isn't enough, it will take money from the general fund. It will be a huge, never-ending money pit.
3. The numbers don't add up. There's some slack in there someplace, and who knows where that will go.
4. Have you ever seen a program that the legislature couldn't find a way to siphon off?
5. The hospital lobby is strongly supporting it, because they can get more money.

Enough is enough.

Amendment 2, stem cell

OK, I've made up my mind on all the amendments.

Amendment 2, Stem Cell research. I'll vote against it because it's just too complex to include in the state constitution, not because I opoose stem cell research. On trhe other hand, I would also oppose any attempt by the legislature to ban the research should the amendment fail. On the other hand, I do not think that it is the government's function to fund research.

I think ads for both sides are highly misleading (they have totally differnt definitions of cloning), but the anti-2 forces are probably stretching things more. This was the hardest one to decide on, but it comes down to what ought to be in the constitution.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Political Cronyism

The Missouri Tourism Commission caved to Gov. Blunt and named a totally dubiously politician as Director of the Missouri Tourism Commission. According to a press release (see the link here), former 3-term State Rep Blaine Leutkemeyer got the job. Leutkemeyer runs an insurance agency in the hinterlands of Miller County at St. Elizabeth (pop. 297).

The Tourism Commission was initially reluctant to appoint Leutkemeyer, preferring instead someone with 25 years experience in the tourism industry. Gov. Blunt exercised some muscle by not reappointing the (Republican) chairwoman of the Commission, Rae Ann Pressley of Branson's Presley entertainment family, replacing her with the wife of a big-time contributor from SW Missouri.

My take? I'll be darned if I'll vote for a Republican with any direct association with Gov. Blunt. Every once in a while I get tempted to skip my Libertarian nominee in a tight race, but forget about that now. I wonder how many tourism industry folks are going to change their political contribution pattern?

I wonder why the Republicans at state and national levels have been so inept in generating public support for their programs (except when it comes to pork barrel spending); this is another prime example.