In 2007, like so many Republican state legislators, Carl Bearden abandoned his constituents in midterm for a lucrative lobbyist job working for billionaire Rex Sinquefield. Bearden’s handpicked successor was Mark Parkinson. Parkinson only job experience was as a gopher for Senators Kit Bond and John Ashcroft; but in a special election in February of 2008, moneyed power brokers were able to get Parkinson elected. This continued the political cycle of big money buying political power here in Missouri.
Parkinson immediately began paying back his Godfather, Sinquefield, by carrying the water for Sinquefield’s pet project a bill eliminating income tax and replacing it with more sales tax. (People like Sinquefield and Stan Kroenke pay very little in sales tax as a percent of their income. Their contribution to tax revenue is almost solely thorough income tax.) This bill would have saved tens of thousands for the likes of Sinquefield and Kroenke while saddling the middle and lower income workers with a staggering 11 percent sales tax.
What have St. Charles County residents in Parkinson’s 105th House District gotten for the almost $500,000 they have given to him in salary and benefits not to mention thousands more in meals, expensive trips and free tickets? Zero, zip, nil, nada, the big goose egg.
In eight futile years, Parkinson is 0 for 114 in getting his legislation passed. Last year even though he is was the most senior member of the overwhelming Republican majority not one of his 15 bills even made it past the first step of having a hearing! He should be an All Star, but instead he can’t even make batboy in a Pee Wee league.
It is sad Parkinson’s only legacy is for packing heat on the legislative floor and as a laughing stock for introducing a bill to force Governor Nixon to buy lottery tickets. (He says he needs two guns because only one makes him off balance.)
Unfortunately for St. Charles County residents, the history of the ‘money buys influence’ political cycle seems destined to repeat itself. Parkinson has dropped his bid for the senate seat of another quitter, Tom Dempsey. Parkinson is now deputy treasurer for the senate campaign for former rival, extremist Bill Eigel. One can only imagine when in office, Eigel giving Parkinson another gravy train government job for dropping his campaign against him.
Eigel campaign was kicked off in November of last year with a huge pay for play contribution of $50,000 from union hater David Humphreys of Joplin. And guess who the treasurer of Eigel’s campaign is? None other than Sinquefield’s major mouthpiece the aforementioned quitter, Carl Bearden.
The “money buys election” cycle is now complete: Bearden quits early for a high income lobbyist job; big donors’ elect Parkinson; Parkinson does their bidding; Sen. Dempsey quits early for another profitable job with Sinquefield; Bearden, Parkinson, Dempsey and big donors outside St. Charles County are now ready to coronate their man, Bill Eigel, as St. Charles County’s next puppet of big money.
So where is the average Missourian in this cycle of big money greed? They are stuck with terrible roads and bridges as over $600 million in tax rebates go to the top. Our schools have been shorted over $400 million in state funding so taxes can be cut at the upper end. (Average Missourian pays 9.2 percent of their income in state and local taxes while the upper one percent only pay 5.4 percent.) Now, average Missourians are faced with the awful choice of lessening the quality of their children’s education or raising their property taxes.
Reading this, do you feel dirty and want to take a bath? Are you still angry at Stan Kroenke for toying with St. Louis and then having nerve enough to ask for a huge tax rebate for his proposed Maryland Heights project?
Did you know the average Missourian got only a $24 tax in the latest round of income tax cuts while Sinquefield and Kroenke will get thousands? This is the big money cycle: big donations get their candidates elected; when elected, their puppets cut their benefactors’ taxes; those cuts generate more money for bigger donations. And around and around it goes
If Kroenke doesn’t want to build a stadium with his money in St. Louis, fine. Then let’s bring his tax rate up to what the rest of us pay, then take that money to build a bridge somewhere in Missouri and name it after him. If Sinquefield doesn’t want to pay income tax so the average Missourian has to raise their property taxes for schools, then it’s time for us to rise up and cut off the head of the snake.
You can accomplish this by your vote in November.