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Monday, February 12, 2007

Ask Your State Senator About the Griesheimer Amendment

No St. Louisan that I know has seen the text of Sen. John Griesheimer's amendment to the Quality Jobs Act (SB 282), scheduled for consideration by the Economic Development, Tourism & Local Government Committee on Wednesday. According to an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the amendment would create a $100 million subsidy for land acquisition related to development projects larger than 75 acres in the city of St. Louis. The amendment also has the backing of Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, who is credited with making the proposal.

Supposedly, the subsidy is sought by a St. Charles County developer for a project in north St. Louis. While this developer knows about the amendment, neither my state senator nor my alderperson knows a thing about a proposal with huge ramifications for the city of St. Louis and its residents.

We need to know exactly what is being proposed -- and why it is being proposed hastily without input from St. Louisans. A program like the one proposed potentially could be beneficial to the city, with proper input from seasoned urban developers, citizens and St. Louis elected officials.

City residents, please contact your state senators:

Harry Kennedy, D-1st: (573) 751-2126
Jeff Smith, D-4th: (573) 751-3599
Maida Coleman, D-5th: (573) 751-2606

You can send email using this form.

Also, here are the current members of the Economic Development, Tourism & Local Government Committee:

John Griesheimer, R-26th, Chair: (573) 751-3678
Chris Koster, R-31st, Vice-chair: (573) 751-1430
Jason Crowell, R-27th: (573) 751-2459
Kevin Engler, R-3rd: (573) 751-3455
Jack Goodman, R-29th: (573) 751-2234
Carl Vogel, R-6th: (573) 751-2076
Victor Callahan, D-11th: (573) 751-3074
Harry Kennedy, D-1st: (573) 751-2126
Ryan McKenna, D-22nd: (573) 751-1492
Wes Shoemyer, D-18th: (573) 751-7852

Again, emails can be sent using this form.

Lt. Gov. Kinder can be contacted at (573) 751-4727 or ltgov@mail.mo.gov.


Anonymous said...

Here are more folks that need to hear from citizens:

Mayor Francis Slay

State Representative Rodney Hubbard

McEagle Properties, LLC

Anonymous said...

If you would like to e-mail each senator, here are their addresses (this bypasses the form some use to limit who e-mails them):

victor_callahan@senate.mo.gov ryan.mckenna@senate.mo.gov

St. Louis City Senators

Anonymous said...

According to the PD article, the corporate beneficiaries include Express Scripts and Centene Corp. Do these large and successful companies in StL need handouts from the public's purse to succeed?

Clearly the WORD is out… need subsidy, come to St. Louis! As quoted in the PD article, housing subsidies begets more susidies: “It needs to be followed by subsidy after subsidy after subsidy” Kinder said.

But do companies like Centene and Express Scripts NEED more subsidies? Or do they just know how to play state/local politics better than their competitors? Or do they insist on such without the true need as that is the way the game is played in StL?

Already Centene has convinced Clayton of the need to blight property in order to use ED to build for executives’ preferred new office space. It didn't hurt that the high school football field needed some improvements and CNC was happy to have the stadium renamed for $400,000. As one of the nation’s largests Medicaid HMOs, CNC generated $1.5 billion in revenue last year. Some of that is used to maintain the CEO’s corporate jet that features an expresso machine. With such money and connections, CEO Neidroff claims “I call a governor, I usually get a call back within 24 to 48 hours”. Do you get the same timely response? With the rapid growth in Medicaid costs and the stress it places on our state's funds, he’ll probably have to wait less in the future.

Last week Express Scripts, which is much larger than CNC, raised its earnings guidance to Wall Street and earnings for the quarter rosed to $147 million while revenues were $4.5 billion for the three months. Also the NY Post reported that the company enriched senior executives with options at unusually opportune times.

In writing these representatives, be aware of the facts and ask why these companies need handouts. Are these companies the neediest entities in our state? What kind of messages are being sent to other investors if local entities are provided with such preferential treatment?

Think about it.