Archive for the 'Blunt administration' Category

Peter Kinder’s Blogger Conference Call

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

As documented elsewhere on the Interwebs, Peter Kinder hosted a conference call for bloggers yesterday afternoon. If memory serves, he’s the first serious candidate in Missouri to do anything of the sort.

Conventional wisdom tells us that most, if not all, statewide candidates will hold open Q&As with bloggers this cycle. Common sense tells us something else.

The people who tell candidates what to “believe” and how to say it have enough problems dealing with the real media, so who wants to open themselves up to questions from hyperpartisan bloggers?

A: Peter Kinder and any other candidate with nothing to hide.

Let’s face it: The toughest questions Democrats can ask the Lt. Gov. right now involve Paul McKee. Which is, ironically, exactly what Peter wants to talk about this week. And next week. And the week after that. Every open and honest answer about McKee’s contributions segues nicely into riffs on Northside redevelopment and Peter’s work in St. Louis City.

Glasnost? Da!

When it comes to providing access to bloggers, we’re a long way from letting the Hancock kids read questions to Jay Nixon about the Second Injury Fund, and we’ll never hear Matt Blunt ask Howard Beale if he’d like to know more about fee office management. Still, Kinder’s approach to opposition bloggers — and the questions they ask — sets an exemplary example.


Live Blogging the Peter Kinder Blogger Conference Call [Missouri Politics]

Peter Kinder Conference Call: Liveblogging [24th State - Jim Durbin]

Kinder hopes for EcoDevo restart [CDT Politics Blog]

Kinder unveils new high-tech campaign site [SE Missourian]

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.

Kinder: Blunt would do St. Louis - and Missouri - a great service by signing HB 327

Friday, July 6th, 2007

The following op-ed from Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder will appear in this week’s print edition of the St. Louis Business Journal.

Gov. Matt Blunt would do the St. Louis area and the entire state of Missouri a great service by signing HB 327, the 2007 Economic Development Bill, which some critics have been urging him to veto.

The bill would extend and expand the Missouri Quality Jobs Program, the landmark legislation that in two short years has proved to be precisely what the Governor himself called it in his 2007 State of the State address – “the most important economic development tool we have ever had.”

It also would create a tax credit for land assembly in distressed areas, a feature that has received considerable misleading attention in the St. Louis media. The reality is that this credit would bring hope to portions of the St. Louis area that have been largely hopeless for half a century or more. And it would do the same in other depressed areas of our state.

Both initiatives are under attack from legislators inclined to view all tax breaks as bad. Such formulaic thinking flies in the face of the facts.

The Quality Jobs Program is artfully constructed to provide tax credits only after new jobs are in place. The state is never, therefore, betting on the come. It is, instead, rewarding companies after the fact for creating jobs featuring above-average wages and health insurance.

Since its inception in 2005, this program has helped cinch some of the biggest economic development projects in the St. Louis area, including Express Scripts’ move to North County, Pfizer’s expansion at Chesterfield, and Chrysler’s potentially $1 billion expansion at Fenton. In fact, between September 2005 and February 2007, 19 companies in the St. Louis area alone used the program to create 100 or more jobs each. More than a dozen other companies in every corner of the state have done the same.

This success, however, has created a problem. The $12 million in credits provided under the 2005 legislation are expended. The bill on the governor’s desk would provide for $30 million more. With studies showing that each dollar of incentives creates $3.18 in new state tax dollars, the money would clearly be well spent.

So too would the incentives provided under the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit.

One reason distressed urban areas have proved so difficult to redevelop over the decades has been a complete lack of interest from major developers. Because of the crazy quilt of land ownership, acquiring large, useable tracts would require not only Confucian-style patience, but the extraordinary expense of carrying property cost on their books for a long period of time.

In recent years, small developers have, to their great credit, produced progress in several under-invested neighborhoods. But real, sustainable progress requires development of scale, which in turn requires large developers.

These developers are not going to work, however, in a field where they can’t make an adequate return. Something must be done to lower their interest and land acquisition costs so they can reasonably choose work in a distressed area rather than a suburban greenfield.

More than 50 years of bitter experience shows us how the present system “works.” It doesn’t. It’s a disaster. If Gov. Blunt will sign HB 327, he’ll give us a fighting chance at success.

Peter Kinder is the Lieutenant Governor of Missouri.

Survey USA: Blunt vs. McCaskill on guns

Monday, April 30th, 2007

Every time I link to Survey USA poll results, I hear from people who fancy themselves as polling experts telling me that Survey USA polls oversample Democrats.

Okay. Understood. Now, how can we explain that among actual gun owners, Claire McCaskill’s approval is at 47%, while Matt Blunt’s is at 46%?

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Suggestions for Hancock’s new site: Pt. 1

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Join with me in welcoming John Hancock to the world of blogging. Hancock’s forthcoming site is the Missouri Republican Party’s latest attempt to counter (the MRP pulled the plug on the insipid “MOGOP Blog” a few weeks ago). Let’s hope Hancock’s site — unlike the others — won’t suck.

About a year ago, was terminated, a mere nine months after it was conceived — a late-term abortion we can all endorse. (Thankfully, the Missouri Republican Party still provides a link to the non-existent site. Surprised? Me neither.) (UPDATE: Link to removed from MRP website at 7:30 a.m. this morning.)

I don’t know who was responsible for, although I have a pretty good idea.

I’m not one to tell stories out of school, so you’ll have to forgive the obfuscation of details here: Some time ago, some people approached me about some things. Namely, creating a website to answer the Dems’ operation. I met with those people and floated some ideas. Those ideas apparently went over like a lead balloon, because none were ever implemented. No harm, no foul — while I believe everyone is entitled to my opinion, I don’t expect that everyone follow it.

Still, I think my broader principles are good ones, and I’d like to share some of them with you over the next few days. It’s far from me to think that John Hancock needs to take advice from anyone, much less me. He is probably the state’s top Republican consultant, and certainly the top consultant that the local media identifies as a conservative. And his price tag shows it — his consulting and polling operation was paid about a quarter of a million dollars to push last November’s failed 470% tobacco tax increase.

Let’s begin by looking within ourselves — it’s there that we’ll find the root of my first, and probably most important, suggestion.

1.) Get over Roy Temple. (Note: This suggestion is not aimed directly at John Hancock, but rather, at every current and aspiring GOP blogger.)

Boy, that Roy Temple was a real bastard, wasn’t he? Just when we thought we had him licked — Claire sent him packing when she took over the Dem state party in August ‘04 — he came back and started a website.

At first, he didn’t have much to work with — he made fun of Melanie Blunt’s outfits and wrote silly captions for goofy photos. But then something terrible happened — he started writing posts with substance. First Steps and fee office management diagrams and lobbyist disclosure forms and on and on ad-frickin’-nauseum. And instead of watching and learning from his actions, we did something very un-Republican — we got emotional and started whining about how unfair it was.

Disclaimer: My lack of personal animosity toward Temple became the source of concern to a couple people in 2006, so let me address it: Maybe if I had run campaigns against Roy Temple, I’d get all emotional about him too. But I was 14 years old in 1992, the year Hancock lost his first Secretary of State race and Temple got Mel Carnahan elected governor, so a longstanding professional rivalry isn’t something I can relate to.

Fast-forward to 2007. If you’ve been visiting firedupmissouri for some time and can’t list three lessons you’ve learned about political communication, you have let your short-sighted anger prevent you from seeing the bigger picture. And isn’t that what big-league consultants are paid to do?

Last year, Temple signed on with a DC-based polling and consulting firm, and today, he rarely posts on the site he created. He lives in DC, where he provides a comfortable living for his wife and little girl. (Update: Roy corrected me — he has two little girls, not one.)

Roy has clearly moved on. So should you.

Tomorrow: Where rightmissouri went wrong with their Claire McCaskill attacks.

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