The following five ballot measures have been certified for the November 7, 2006 general election.
Constitutional Amendment 2 (Proposed by CitizenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Initiative Petition)
(See also: The Truth about the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative here at MFN.)
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to allow and set limitations on stem cell research, therapies, and cures which will:
– ensure Missouri patients have access to any therapies and cures, and allow Missouri researchers to conduct any research, permitted under federal law;
– ban human cloning or attempted cloning;
– require expert medical and public oversight and annual reports on the nature and purpose of stem cell research;
– impose criminal and civil penalties for any violations; and
– prohibit state or local governments from preventing or discouraging lawful stem cell research, therapies and cures?
The proposed constitutional amendment would have an estimated annual fiscal impact on state and local governments of $0-$68,916.
Amendment 2 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Lies & Life – MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Biggest and Boldest Political Deception!
Because of the U.S. ConstitutionÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s First Amendment “right to free speech”, some lawyers and politicians have taken their legal “right to lie” to a new level. Claiming to “ban human cloning”, this Amendment does the opposite by granting a constitutionally protected right to clone human babies. In order to avoid the public outrage over killing human embryos for “medical research” and profits, this proposal attempts to redefine the biological, medical, physiological, scientific, moral, ethical, and theological truths of human embryology! In the same fashion slick politicians and lawyers tricked Missouri voters into legalizing casinos by redefining them as “gaming” not “gambling”, the only thing banned in this Amendment is public honesty. Passage of this Amendment empowers a human cloning industry which would be constitutionally required to abort all implanted human clones before they are born alive! Public funding of human embryo killing and unethical experimentation, fetal tissue farms, and treating human embryos and babies as commodities will become the norm under Amendment 2.
According to scripture, you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Contemporary science has once again confirmed this biblical principle through the discoveries of embryology. Three times in the New Testament we find references to the “conception” of Jesus Christ as a single cell human embryo. In 2,000 years no one has ever developed an argument against the humanity of Jesus (the debate always focuses on His divine nature and not His human nature). Today we now understand how the conception of Jesus Christ did not violate any natural laws because of the fact that there was no sperm or fertilization. The same is true for one of each set of identical twins throughout 6,000 years of human history! Jesus, as well as each identical twin, had a soul from conception and so does every other single cell human embryo ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ whether he or she is formed naturally in a womb or artificially in a laboratory, with or without the use of sperm or traditional fertilization!
Please: Vote NO on human cloning. Vote NO on creating and Killing human life for profit. Vote NO on Amendment 2!
(See also: The Truth about the Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative here at MFN.)
Constitutional Amendment 3 (Proposed by CitizenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Initiative Petition)
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to create a Healthy Future Trust Fund which will:
1. be used to reduce and prevent tobacco use, to increase funding for healthcare access and treatment for eligible low-income individuals and Medicaid recipients, and to cover administrative costs;
2. be funded by a tax of four cents per cigarette and twenty percent on other tobacco products; and
3. be kept separate from general revenue and annually audited?
Additional taxes of four cents per cigarette and twenty percent of the manufacturerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s invoice price on other tobacco products generates an estimated $351 – $499 million annually for tobacco control programs, healthcare for low income Missourians, and payments for services provided to Missouri Medicaid beneficiaries and uninsured Missourians. Local governmental fiscal impact is unknown.
Amendment 3 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Sanctity of Life Attack Through Politically Correct Tax?
A “Healthy Future Trust Fund” sounds good. It is very troubling that this proposed Amendment is not “Healthy” for MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s unborn children, puts the “Future” at more risk than it already is, and demonstrates no more “Trust” than certain slick lawyers and politicians!
First. If Missourians fall for the “letÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s tax the latest politically vulnerable industry”, despite your support or distain for the industry ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ who gets taxed next time? A. GodÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Word forbids vice taxes (sin tax). B. Tyranny of anyone through disproportionate taxes calls for Biblical opposition (even, in part, motivating the patriots to theologically disagree with the passivism of the Tories in pursuing a war against the King of England). C. Principles of greed and corruption can be drawn from the passage found in Proverbs 1:11 “Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦”.
Is the tobacco industry innocent? No. Is it to be blamed for all death, disease, and suffering? Not completely, there is a such thing as individual responsibility. Will the industry bare the cost of disproportionate taxation? NO, all of the tax burden will be passed on to the consumer. Will the additional cost of tobacco products motivate addicted smokers to stop smoking? No, never has ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ never will. Can the new revenues be used wisely and to the benefit of Missourians? Sure, but so can the current revenues that are not being used as promised or expected by taxpayers!
If slick lawyers and politicians cannot be trusted with current revenues, why give them more? More revenues too often result in more broken promises! A politically motivated tax hike, multiplied by a disproportionate tax rate, equals more disappointment and distrust. Passage of these initiatives only fosters a political environment whereby more lawyers and politicians will “lay wait for bloodÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦(calling upon you to) lurk privily for the innocentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦” yet again.
Second. Some will sayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦ “But the money will be used for a good cause!” According to who? The same slick lawyers and politicians who have proven their ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“trustworthiness’ before? Ask them, “Where is the tobacco settlement funds being paid to the state going? How are these billions of dollars being spent?” Supporters of Amendment 3 will sidestep your question to brag about the proposed uses of up to a half billion dollars annually collected from this tax. But when they tell you about the many benefits this money will be used for, ask them to define “medically necessary”. They will not tell you that the “medically necessary” health care provided through this tax will most likely include performing abortions! When they deny this planned use of public funds, ask them why the proposal fails to restrict the use of these taxes like every other public fund in the state?
Protect MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s “Health”, vote NO on Amendment 3. Protect MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s “Future”, vote NO on Amendment 3. Protect MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s “Trust” with equity and fairness, vote NO on Amendment 3. Protect MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s innocent unborn, vote NO on Amendment 3!
Constitutional Amendment 6 (Proposed by the General Assembly (2006) SJR 26)
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a tax exemption for real and personal property that is used or held exclusively for nonprofit purposes or activities of veterans’ organizations?
It is estimated this proposal will have a minimal cost to state government. The estimated costs to local governmental entities range from zero to approximately $45,000.
Amendment 6 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Veterans, Taxes, and MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Obligations
A workman is worth of his hire and should be compensated fairly. While this principle is often cited in a variety of cultural contexts, it is rarely attributed to itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s foundation ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the Bible. If we taxpayers are obliged to compensate public servants fairly, who could be more deserving of our support than the veterans who agree (or perhaps forced) to risk their blood and their bodies for our personal safety?
Amendment 6 is the only purely honest ballot question of the five being submitted to voters this November 7th. The issue is simple and basic. Should veterans organizations whose purpose is to assist our veterans, and often continued public service through a variety of projects and programs, be required to pay property taxes to the state for their facilities? Missouri gives tax breaks to many deserving groups, including churches. But if tax breaks are given to profit earning industries and local governments, agricultural and horticultural societies, certainly veterans organizations deserve to be relieved of the same tax burden!
Support our veterans who have made, and keep, us free. Vote YES on Amendment 6.
Constitutional Amendment 7 (Proposed by the General Assembly (2006) HJR 55)
Shall Article XIII, Section 3 of the Constitution be amended to require that legislators, statewide elected officials, and judges forfeit state pensions upon felony conviction, removal from office following impeachment or for misconduct, and to require that compensation for such persons be set by a citizens’ commission subject to voter referendum?
It is estimated this proposal will have no costs to state or local governments.
Amendment 7 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ Another Half-Truth Ballot Question to be Rejected by Missouri Voters
This Constitutional Amendment is a political ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“bait & switchÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ con. James 5: 12 says “…let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.” GodÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Word teaches us that anything less than the whole truth is not just a deception ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ it is an abomination!
While all the rhetoric has been focused on crooked politicians being found guilty and convicted of committing felony crimes in a court of law (relatively rare events) ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ the other 99.9% will be allowed to walk away with the money!
The ballot question voters will see in the voting booth fails to tell the whole story of House Joint Resolution 55. HJR 55 is the proposal that will actually alter the State Constitution, as adopted by the Missouri General Assembly during the 2006 legislative session.
The incomplete ballot question starts true. Passage of this amendment will revoke pensions of lawmakers ultimately found guilty and “convicted” of committing felony offenses. The same would apply to politicians officially “removed” from office for “misconduct” or “impeachment”. However, the penalty can be avoided with plea bargains or optional pleadings in court, despite guilt. Anyone who resigns voluntarily so much as one day prior to ultimate removal, even after dragging the state through an impeachment trial, could still keep their pension!
In other words, there is less than a 1% chance that any politician would ever be disqualified from receiving a taxpayer funded pension, despite any level of misconduct or even after being caught red handed committing a felony crime. Sadly, the proposed ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“severityÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ of facing even the possibility of losing their pension would actually be used to demotivate a potential criminal or impeachment trial!
But this is only HALF the bad news. The deception in this ballot question is in the fact that it is only a half-truth. Never mentioned is that this Constitutional Amendment also liberalizes the ground rules for pay increases for politicians ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ while making it sound just the opposite!
Article XIII, Section 3 of MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Constitution outlines the procedures for the “Missouri CitizenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Commission on Compensation for Elected Officials”. Adopted in more recent years, this citizenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s commission reviews and recommends salary schedules for state officials, lawmakers and judges (municipal judges not included). While lawmakers can still adjust their own pay for “cost-of-living” considerations, their primary salary, mileage expenses, and per-day diems are set by the Commission.
The heart of the offense in this Amendment is found in the changes to subsection 8 of the constitutional process. Currently any pay increases become automatic unless formally disapproved by a simple majority vote of the General Assembly. This allows citizen input or criticism of disproportionate increases to create a political atmosphere in which a minority group of lawmakers can put everyone on the spot with a publicly recorded roll call vote. However, this Amendment requires the disapproval to be a super-majority vote of two-thirds! This is a slap in the face to Missouri taxpayers as a majority of politicians will get away with voting against a pay increase knowing it will go into effect with only a one-third vote supporting the increase. (Well over a third of Missouri House and Senate districts are political “safe” districts for either the respective republican or democrat party candidate. Lawmakers know these districts are ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“immuneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ from voter retribution on an issue like this.)
Additionally, the proposal goes on to remove the requirement that any pay increase be subject to appropriations. In other words politicians would be paid ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“off-the-topÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ with no concern for funding priorities. No committee votes, no amendments with recorded votes, no debate! Voters would never be allowed to hold lawmakers accountable! Then, to make matters even worse, in years of budget crunches, catastrophes, or even in an economy crash, politician paychecks remain top priority with no voterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s voices allowed unless they organize a multi-million dollar referendum!
Changes to politician paychecks would not take effect over the next two years (not until January 1, 2009). But if voters reject Constitutional Amendment 7, changes to the compensation process will not have to occur at all! Please vote NO on Amendment 7.
Proposition B (Proposed by CitizenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Initiative Petition)
Shall Missouri Statutes be amended to increase the state minimum wage rate to $6.50 per hour, or to the level of the federal minimum wage if that is higher, and thereafter adjust the state minimum wage annually based on changes in the Consumer Price Index?
The proposed revisions to MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s wage rate laws generates an estimated $3.3 million to $4.3 million annually in state revenue. The impact on local government is unknown.
Proposition B – Beyond Balance
Admittedly, minimum wage issues are complicated to evaluate. Every side of the debate has good points to make and most tend to over-exaggerate the facts. From a Biblical perspective work and labor is a blessing which God created before the fall of man (Genesis 1:28, 2:15). This helps us understand the many other teachings from scripture on this issue. While we are not to complain about another personÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s higher wages (Matthew 20:1-15), we are not to ignore exploitation of our fellow man. As an employee you are to give a full and honest dayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s labor (Ephesians 6:5-8), yet as an employer you are to treat your hired workers fairly and with respect (Ephesians 6:9).
TodayÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s labor market strikes a reasonable balance on these, and other, business and work related biblical guidelines. There are abuses on both sides of the debate and stories to be shared to make many points. However, it has been proven time and again that the principles of free market enterprise, as developed in western societies from Christian practices and the admonitions of GodÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Word, works best with the least governmental regulations as possible. The free market should only lose its freedom when it demonstrates an unwillingness to be self-policed (illegal drugs, pornography, corporate scandal, etc.).
Leviticus 19:36 states, “Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.” Yet fairness in labor rates is much more subjective than bartering grain, a commodity which reflects the investment of labor and its fruit. While fixed standards for pricing the fruits of labor must account for variable conditions of quality and value, the labor to produce those fruits is wrought with too many human variables to mandate inflexible customs. One of the reasons Jesus upheld the employerÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s right to pay some people the same amount for less labor was because of the value of the labor to him along with the conditions and needs he had for hiring the labor.
Six times the Lord expressly addresses just weights and balances in His Word. In several more places in scripture we are faced with inescapable exploitation. These and other economic principles have provided us the roadmap to become the greatest economic power in the world, and throughout human history. Our economy is so successful it has also become one of our greatest distractions from Christlike living as we allow wealth to become a leading false god in our culture.
Higher minimum wage rates stress the ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“labor-to-valueÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ balance facing many small businesses and industries which produce labor intensive services and products. Mandating these wages at higher rates will force a reduction in employment leaving more people with less jobs. This means less production for the same labor value. Both problems clearly result in higher cost of products and services for everyone, including the very people working minimum wage jobs!
Additional aspects of this proposition include its impact on entry level jobs compared to workplace advancement and long term carriers. A thorough study of economics and minimum wage level impacts on the free market, welfare programs, and other ripple effects on the overall economy reveal the complexity of this issue. Maybe this is why no political party, when in the majority, has placed this radical increase before the voters ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ despite all their political rhetoric to the contrary.
LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s keep entry level jobs available for those who need them, vote NO on Proposition B. LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s keep Missouri products and services at a lower cost for everyone, vote NO on Proposition B. LetÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s keep MissouriÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s free market as free and balanced as possible, vote NO on Proposition B.