Defending traditional families

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Missouri’s 6 Statewide Ballot Question Recommendations from Missouri Family Network & November 8, 2016 General Election

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:

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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.

Vote YES.

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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.

Vote NO.

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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!

Vote NO.

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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.

Vote Yes.

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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.

Vote YES

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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.

Vote NO

MFN E-alert: Proposition B, 2010 General Election

Proposition B
“B is Bad
!”
Vote “NO” To defend Missouri against animal rights extremism!

Proposed by a citizens’ Initiative Petition.  (Go to http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2010petitions/2010-085.asp to read the full text of this proposed Missouri state statutory provision.)

Official Ballot Title:  (The summary question you will see in the voting booth)

Shall Missouri law be amended to:

require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary

veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles;

prohibit any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets; and

create a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations?

Fair Ballot Language:  (Additional clarification required by law, provided by Secretary of State’s office.)

A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to require large-scale dog breeding operations to provide each dog under their care with sufficient food, clean water, housing and space; necessary veterinary care; regular exercise and adequate rest between breeding cycles.  The amendment further prohibits any breeder from having more than 50 breeding dogs for the purpose of selling their puppies as pets.  The amendment also creates a misdemeanor crime of “puppy mill cruelty” for any violations.

A “no” vote will not change the current Missouri law regarding dog breeders.

If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.

Analysis: Proposition B is Bad.  It is misleading and deceptive.  there is ample evidence that this is a big step as part of an extremist animal rights/liberation agenda that threatens all animal agriculture, here in Missouri, and it is sponsored by an overwhelmingly wealthy organization steeped in deception.

Missouri dog breeders are already highly regulated (see State Criminal Statues 578.009 RSMo. Animal Neglect and Abandonment, & 578.012 RSMo. Animal Abuse; and the Code of State Regulations, Rules of the Department of Agriculture, Division 30 Animal Health, Chapter 9 Animal Care Facilities)

Anyone operating a “puppy mill” in Missouri is already criminally guilty of these laws.  If you pause to think about it you have seen the occasional violation as the raids and seizures of animals are always highlighted on the evening newscasts.  Proposition B is deceptive in that it does not even define what constitutes a “puppy mill”!  The proposal duplicates some of the existing law and then creates a myriad of restrictive guidelines designed to harass and shut down reputable kennels.  These unrealistic guidelines are commonly believed to have been written as a basis for using state laws to attack normal and customary practices throughout Missouri’s various farm animal operations and agricultural industries.  In doing so the proposal even weakens some current animal welfare laws!

This citizens’ initiative and the misleading media campaign supporting it is sponsored by an extremist group well known for its radical agenda to eliminate ALL human/animal interactions.  A onetime legitimate animal welfare organization, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) was targeted and taken over by a collaboration of radical animal liberation leaders already known for their extreme views and actions.  Today HSUS is the world’s wealthiest animal rights/liberation group warring against every animal industry known to modern man.

HSUS aggressively pushes for a vegan culture totally free of human contact with any animals for any purpose whatsoever.  No agriculture, no food, no pets, no zoos, no medical research, no social or patient therapy with animals, no aquariums, no animal by-products such as most plastics and rubber products or cosmetics and textiles.  This is why just about every major farm animal and crop commodity association in the state is opposing Proposition B.

While using highly emotional campaigns to prey on the hearts of voters and donors alike, HSUS gives less than one half of one percent of its funds to help provide relief for distressed animals.  They own absolutely no shelters or facilities and do not operate a single clinic or sanctuary for needy animals.  Almost their entire one hundred twenty million dollar annual budget ($120,000,000.) is spent on executive salaries/pensions, fund raising, and political activism!

Why then is HSUS targeting Missouri’s dog industry for the 2010 November election?  Wayne Pacelle, HSUS’ CEO, has clearly stated that ballot initiatives “pay dividends and serve as a training ground for activists” and “that ballot initiatives would be used for all manners of legislation in the future.”  HSUS ignores the fact that Missouri enacted the Animal Care Facilities Act in 1992, and the fact that Missouri has some of the most strictly regulated dog breeder laws in the nation.  (22 pages of detailed regulations)

The goal of Proposition B is to eliminate all legal, licensed pet breeders and to limit free enterprise.  If enacted, the ballot initiative will eliminate over 1460 licensed, professional agriculture operations in our state.  The costs will be enormous as feed stores, supply companies, veterinarians, groomers, and all businesses related to pet ownership will see a sharp decrease in business.  Professional breeders will be forced out of business due to unattainable requirements in Proposition B.  Many will lose their family farms and employment, resulting in decreased property values and lost taxes for local communities.

HSUS’s worldview is that ALL domestic animals should be returned to the wild.  But the Biblical worldview is that God created man to subdue and utilize the various elements of His creation, including a proper stewardship of His animals.  Abuse of that stewardship is clearly wrong.  However, abuse of our stewardship through omission (“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17) is just as sinful as abuse through commission.  God provided for proper animal husbandry as a legitimate/necessary human endeavor.  In turn mankind  is blessed with many benefits.

As state and national veterinary groups also oppose Proposition B consider this:  If you enjoy eating, realize the extent of animal agriculture’s contribution to your daily quality of life (other than food), appreciate advances in medical research, value the world class St. Louis Zoo, engage in hunting or fishing, enjoy horseback riding or support other animal related activities such as service animals for the handicapped or patient therapies, have or support others having pets or aquariums, please share this information with your family and friends and vote “NO” on Proposition B.

For more information on Proposition B see the special www.Metrovoice.net articles exposing HSUS. You may also visit The Alliance for Truth at www.thealliancefor truth.com and/or Missourians for Animal Care at www.missourifac.com.  But remember, B is Bad – please vote “NO”!

MFN E-alert: Proposition A, 2010 General Election

Proposition A
Vote “YES” to limit your local government from imposing income taxes!

Proposed by a citizens’ Initiative Petition.  Go to http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2010petitions/2010-077.asp to read the full text of this proposed Missouri state statutory provision.

Official Ballot Title:  (The summary question you will see in the voting booth)

Shall Missouri law be amended to:

repeal the authority of certain cities to use earnings taxes to fund their budgets;

require voters in cities that currently have an earnings tax to approve continuation of such tax at the next general

municipal election and at an election held every 5 years thereafter;

require any current earnings tax that is not approved by the voters to be phased out over a period of 10 years; and

prohibit any city from adding a new earnings tax to fund their budget?

Fair Ballot Language:  (Additional clarification required by law, provided by Secretary of State’s office.)

A “yes” vote will amend Missouri law to repeal the authority of certain cities to use earnings taxes to fund their budgets.  The amendment further requires voters in cities that currently have an earnings tax, St. Louis and Kansas City, to approve continuation of such tax at the next general municipal election and at an election held every five years or to phase out the tax over a period of ten years.

A “no” vote will not change the current Missouri law regarding earnings taxes.

If passed, this measure will impact taxes by removing the ability of cities to fund their budgets through earnings taxes.  The only exception is that voters in cities that currently have an earnings tax may vote to continue such taxes.

Analysis: A trend in local government tax schemes is to find new sources of taxation.  St. Louis City and Kansas City aggressively tax local payrolls through their municipal income tax.  (The public school lobby has been seeking authority to do the same at the local school district level.)  While this increases revenues for the local governing authorities, it also creates its own negative outcomes.  Meanwhile other local governments covet a local income tax too.

Local income taxes stifle job creation in much the same way as small business over taxation.  To avoid the tax businesses and employers establish their presence down the road outside the local taxing jurisdiction, or in a far away community.  Many established businesses close shop and relocate when these kind of new taxes become too oppressive.  Without effective job creation incentives most communities cannot grow or even hold their own.  When tax policies become too intrusive a community can begin to deteriorate further stressing the revenue base.

Just as businesses must compete to produce goods and services they must also strive to offer competitive jobs in order to maintain the ability to generate those products.  While employees feel the pinch of smaller paychecks due to local income taxes, employers struggling to maintain available jobs are also stressed by such taxes.  In the end, local income taxes are a regressive and harsh tool for raising revenue for any level of government.

An additional concern regarding income taxes is the rate.  As state and federal government income tax rates continue to climb, what can wage earners expect at the local level?  Prudence and experience grant no optimism regarding this concern.

God’s Word speaks against governments that oppress their citizens.  Our forefathers not only fought against such outward tyranny but they memorialized civil disobedience (appropriately applied) as a future defense against internal tyranny also.  Remember that the War of Independence was the result of a great theological struggle as the Tories argued for a Biblical submission to the King (Romans 13:1-7) and the Patriots argued from the motivation of demonstrating love for one’s neighbors whom the King was oppressing (Luke 10:25-29 & Acts 5:29).

Under Proposition A any existing income taxes imposed by a local government must be re-approved at the next municipal election.  If it is so re-approved it must continue to be reauthorized every five years.  If it fails to be supported by the voters within the local taxing jurisdiction, the tax would be phased out over a ten year period to avoid any harsh revenue crisis.  Those local governing authorities not currently enacting an income tax would be prohibited from ever imposing this particular type of taxation.  State and federal income taxes will not be impacted by Proposition A.

In order to promote equity in tax policy, help foster a healthy job market and economy, and to further protect your neighbor from burdensome and regressive taxation – please vote “YES” to limit local government income taxes!