Next week’s General Elections have more people frustrated than any I have ever seen in my lifetime. Remember – you are voting for the future of our beloved country! Not voting is a way of casting a ballot for the worse candidates!
It’s not always about “voting for the lesser of two evils” – sometimes it’s about “voting against the most evil of two candidates.”
(I, like so many others, went through my season of discontent many years ago. What I found was that voting for a minor-party or a non-party candidate was worse than not showing up. The contest is really only between the “viable” candidates. And even when neither of them share my values, I must fight evil with a smart vote – not a rhetorical symbolic vote against both viable candidates!)
We all have to wrestle with every vote. So please earnestly pray for God’s wisdom! And may The Lord bless our efforts to preserve our Constitutional Republic for our children and our children’s children with wise selections! After working 32 years with lawmakers in the State Capitol, I can guarantee you that party platforms truly do make a difference most of the time, even when individuals fail us. And don’t ever forget – our next Governor and President will appoint the Judges that fill our highest Courts, as well as all 93 federal prosecutors who in turn will decide which laws to enforce!
So – PLEASE PRAY!!!
Now – Here are MFN’s recommendations on the 6 statewide ballot questions for Missouri voters:
Constitutional Amendment 1 – MFN Recommends a “YES” vote
[Proposed by Article IV, Section 47(c), Missouri Constitution (SJR 1, 2005)]
Shall Missouri continue for 10 years the one-tenth of one percent sales/use tax that is used for soil and water conservation and for state parks and historic sites, and resubmit this tax to the voters for approval in 10 years?
MFN Perspective: Missouri’s Soil & Water program fits the elements of a proper use of tax dollars as it has built and maintains a quality agricultural infrastructure. Through this program we all enjoy a higher quality of life from a higher abundance of food production, availability, and distribution. Thanks to the successful programs of our county Soil & Water Boards (locally elected) our foods get to us at a lower cost. And in the process these Boards are helping Missouri farmers adopt best practices for producing better products at lower costs, in higher volumes, and with better profits for our farmers.
The overall success of this dedicated funding underscores the value of continuing this program and further strengthening our agricultural infrastructure for another ten years.
Constitutional Amendment 2 – MFN Recommends a “NO” vote
[Proposed by Initiative Petition]
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to: establish limits on campaign contributions by individuals or entities to political parties, political committees, or committees to elect candidates for state or judicial office; prohibit individuals and entities from intentionally concealing the source of such contributions; require corporations or labor organizations to meet certain requirements in order to make such contributions; and provide a complaint process and penalties for any violations of this amendment?
MFN Perspective: Under current laws any and all campaign contributions must be reported and are made public. This proposal does not create any better public accountability than is already required. However, it does limit financial contributions – but – under this proposal, if a wealthy individual or organization wants to give a large donation, they would just spread the money around and have it reported as coming from several sources and the public would never know if the same large donors are laundering their financial influence.
The idea of limiting campaign contributions sounds good on the surface, but such laws only make it harder to expose the influence peddling of wealthy political players.
Constitutional Amendment 3 – MFN Recommends a “NO” vote
[Proposed by Initiative Petition] (Big Tobacco proposal to hurt smaller competitors that do not market cigars, chewing, or pipe tobacco products, which are not impacted by the measure.)
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to: increase taxes on cigarettes each year through 2020, at which point this additional tax will total 60 cents per pack of 20; create a fee paid by cigarette wholesalers of 67 cents per pack of 20 on certain cigarettes, which fee shall increase annually; and deposit funds generated by these taxes and fees into a newly established Early Childhood Health and Education Trust Fund?
MFN Perspective: There are three grave concerns – (1) Revenues are promised to fund education just like the lottery and casinos were, but no net increase in overall funding ever happens as the new taxes only free up other general revenues which are then diverted to other budget items. Meanwhile, these new revenues cannot be used for the most important focus of a tobacco tax – smoking cessation efforts! (2) MFN opposes any vice tax (sin tax) on the grounds that they cloud judgments and make it harder to get lawmakers to understand future efforts to expose the damages caused by the vice. (3) Ten years ago Missourians were led to believe they were banning human cloning when the narrowly passed an amendment that actually wrote human cloning rights into our State Constitution. Now – this proposal adds “limited’ abortion rights (including tax funding) into the Constitution for the first time ever!
Our State legislature has laws in our State Statutes restricting abortions and all public funding waiting for the day the courts overturn Roe v. Wade. If this amendment passes, those laws will be jeopardized!
Constitutional Amendment 4 – MFN Recommends a “YES” vote
[Proposed by Initiative Petition]
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to prohibit a new state or local sales/use or other similar tax on any service or transaction that was not subject to a sales/use or similar tax as of January 1, 2015?
MFN Perspective: Several conservative leaders and groups are divided on this question – here is why. Most all advocates for smaller and less restrictive government agree we need a remodeled tax code that is streamlined, easier to understand, and more equitable for all. The various “fair tax” and “flat tax” proposals would shift income and property taxes to a “consumer” base of taxation. Raising sales taxes to replace the current complicated tax codes levels the playing field for everyone regardless of income. But to keep the sticker shock low with better messaging, those sales taxes would include various services that are not now taxed. This prohibition on service taxes would require alternative tax code debates to adjust to a higher sales tax percentage on goods only. Concern that a higher proposed sales tax rate could make alternative plans harder to advocate causes some to oppose this measure.
Failure to pass this amendment means the lobby groups for various service industries that have stood in the way of a “flat” or “fair” tax , will continue fighting against a more just tax code.
Constitutional Amendment 6 – MFN Recommends a “YES” vote
[Proposed by 98th General Assembly (Second Regular Session) SS HJR 53]
Shall the Constitution of Missouri be amended to state that voters may be required by law, which may be subject to exception, to verify one’s identity, citizenship, and residence by presenting identification that may include valid government-issued photo identification?
MFN Perspective: Despite the often repeated rhetoric form the opposition to photo IDs for voting, voter fraud does in fact occur more often that anyone knows. But without effective required proofs, no one really knows how bad the problems are. Major media quotes the oppositions’ false claims, but downplay the number of well documented crimes that have been proven to have changed election outcomes!
Photo IDs are required for welfare/entitlement programs yet opposition says this measure hurts poor people. Meanwhile everyone else that pays taxes must prove who they are.
Proposition A – MFN Recommends a “NO” vote
[Proposed by Initiative Petition]
Shall Missouri law be amended to: increase taxes on cigarettes in 2017, 2019, and 2021, at which point this additional tax will total 23 cents per pack of 20; increase the tax paid by sellers on other tobacco products by 5 percent of manufacturer’s invoice price; use funds generated by these taxes exclusively to fund transportation infrastructure projects; and repeal these taxes if a measure to increase any tax or fee on cigarettes or other tobacco products is certified to appear on any local or statewide ballot?
MFN Perspective: Similar to Amendment #3, please refer to previous commentary.