ST. LOUIS – Senate Floor Majority Leader Mike Kehoe announced he will not be running for any office in 2018 and predicted the big legislative issues of the year on Sunday’s episode of This Week in Missouri Politics.
Host Scott Faughn asked Kehoe, who faces term limits in 2018, to predict the issues he expects to confront in his last year in the Senate.
Earlier on the show, Kehoe mentioned how the Governor’s 21st Century Transportation System Task Force is facing a lot of issues and are under a lot of pressure. He says Missouri is in a transportation system deficit and that Missouri has the seventh largest infrastructure but is the 47th highest in funding.
“I haven’t found anybody, whether they’re an elected official or just the average person you talk to in the coffee shop that’s not concerned about transportation right now,” Kehoe laments. He mentions the work of the transportation task force and recently spoke with Sen. Dave Schatz and Rep. Kevin Corlew, the chair and vice-chair of the task force respectively.
“They’re working very hard. They’ve had many meetings. They’re receiving input from all kinds of stakeholders. Rep. Corlew said to me on the phone, ‘there’s not a whole lot of different solutions than what you have been talking about.’ There’s not a magic wand, there are three or four different ways you can (carve out) funding, we just need to decide which one is best for Missouri,”
He also believes education will be another big issue in 2018 as it was in 2017. In addition to fully funding the K-12 education formula for the first time in Missouri’s history, funding for higher education was cut. Lincoln University received $2.5 million in land grant funding, the first time in 20 years since they received funding of that amount.
“I think St. Louis is ready to come out, back into accreditation. Kudos to the folks who worked so hard here in St. Louis City. You’ll see some education conversation,” he said.
His last prediction was about conversations of tax reform. Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit reviewing Missouri’s tax incentives and exemptions. In her report, she found that the state is not collecting $130 million more in corporate in corporate taxes than initially expected, offers unnecessary timely withholding tax discounts, and not collecting any form of taxes on internet sales.
“The Governor has a committee on tax credit reform. They have issued a report and policy measures. I’ll take a look at that and find out what is appropriate: what is the right investment for Missouri tax dollars, where are we getting the best returns on those investments, and are we using that money in the right spots.”