Virtually lost in all of the Missouri political discussions are two constitutional amendments and three statewide propositions on Tuesday's ballot. For the most part, just the proposition that would repeal the loss limit at Missouri casinos has generated any discussion. That may be because the supporters of the measure have spent nearly $15 million on the proposition.
So here's a rundown of the "other" issues on Tuesday's ballot.
Constitutional Amendment 1 has generated discussion but very little actually. The measure would mandate English as the official language of state government. That's it in a nutshell. The usual suspects oppose the measure but I would think it will win easily. It's rather strange in some ways that this is even an issue. Of course, English is our official language and, of course, all matters of importance should be discussed in the English language. But we have a changing world and there is concern in some quarters that at some distant point, government matters would take on a bilingual approach. I support this measure not from a prejudicial standpoint by any means. But maybe - given the nature of the times - we should state publicly and as a matter of policy that English is our common language. For that reason, this amendment gets my vote.
Constitutional Amendment 4 deals with changes in the way we finance storm water control projects. I'm not at all sure why this measure requires a vote of the people and not simply legislative action. And I guess I'm just too darned lazy to research why we should vote on this measure. But a little homework indicates this measure will not cost the state and it will save money for those communities and water districts who rely on bonds to finance their projects. Smaller communities sometimes have trouble financing storm water control projects and if this measure will save them some money and not take my tax dollar, then I can give it my support. I'll vote in favor of Amendment 4.
Proposition A is the attention-getter this year. The bottom line is fairly simple. The measure would repeal the loss limit at Missouri casinos and that would generate more money for education in our state. It would also prohibit any more casino construction in the state which appears to be the only provision that has generated opposition. A group from Cape Girardeau has a pending permit for a casino there and that group sued to remove this measure from the ballot. The courts ruled against them last week.
I favor Proposition A because I think our loss limit is stupid and it would clearly pour more money into education in Missouri. I'm not a strong supporter of the prohibition of more casinos but I'm willing to forego that portion in support of the other provisions.
Proposition B sounds good because it is designed to allow more elderly and disabled Missourians to continue living independently. But to accomplish this noble goal, it would establish the Missouri Quality Homecare Council which would recruit, train and stabilize home care workers. Another layer of state government is always a red flag to me. Rarely does adding more state intervention accomplish anything positive. Sure, we all would favor the continued independent living of those in need but I doubt we need another layer of state government to assure that goal. I will vote against Proposition B.
And finally, Proposition C would require investor-owned electric utilities to go green. It mandates increased usage of solar, wind, biomass and hydropower power to their customers eventually reaching 15 percent of their retail sales by 2021.
Granted, we all favor innovations in energy consumption and wind, solar, etc. will probably be the approach of the future. But there are far too many unanswered questions in this measure and no one has a clue of what this proposition may eventually cost. There are other ways to increase creative approaches to energy consumption and state mandates should be the final choice. For that reason, I will vote against Proposition C.