Ann Kelley's Capitol Connection

October 26, 2023

What's Going on in the Capitol

House Special Committee on the Earnings Tax Taking Public Hearings on the Road

The Special Interim Committee on the Earnings Tax, has announced the second and third of three public hearings with the aim of evaluating the policies of municipalities that utilize an earnings tax and evaluating personal property tax policies.

The Special Interim Committee on the Earnings Tax was established to conduct a comprehensive examination of taxation policies affecting remote workers, with a particular focus on the disparities between the City of St. Louis and Kansas City's taxation approaches compared to other municipalities nationwide. The committee's purview was expanded in late September to encompass an in-depth assessment of personal property taxes, with the intent of evaluating how they are implemented and put into use.

The St. Louis hearing, which will focus on St. Louis' earnings tax, is scheduled for:

* Date: Monday, October 30, 2023

* Time: 12:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

* Location: St. Louis Community College, Room HS412A/412B

* Address: Forest Park, 5600 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110

The Kansas City hearing, which will focus on Kansas City's earnings tax, is scheduled for:

* Date: Tuesday, November 7, 2023

* Time: 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

* Location: Union Station, Room To Be Determined

* Address: 30 W Pershing Rd, Kansas City, MO 64108

Missouri Receives $12 Million in ARPA Funds to Improve Cellular Service

The Department of Economic Development (DED) has granted $12 million through the Cell Towers Grant Program for 29 projects. This funding will support the construction of new cellular towers to improve cellular service and 911 connectivity in high-cost areas, with a focus on statewide expansion. The Missouri General Assembly has emphasized the importance of expanding cellular connectivity for public safety and economic growth.

The program will benefit over 17,000 underserved areas without quality cellular service, with each project constructing a new cellular tower. The DED's Office of Broadband Development manages the program, which was launched in May 2023, offering competitive grants to applicants who also contribute private funding.

A second round of funding opened on October 20, 2023, with $7.9 million available for eligible providers and tower owners to construct new towers. The Cell Towers Grant Program has been modified to improve application and challenge processes, with future funding rounds considering project proximity to existing towers.

The program's application portal closes on November 10, 2023, with award announcements expected on December 29, 2023. More details can be found in the program guidelines. To learn more about DED's ARPA-funded grant programs, visit

Missouri Commissioner of Education Announces Plan to Step Down

Missouri Commissioner of Education Margie Vandeven will step down from her position on July 1, 2024, after serving in this role for over seven years, with a brief break from December 2017 to January 2019. During a recent board meeting, her resignation was announced by State Board of Education President Charlie Shields, who praised her commitment and invited her to share her remarks.

In her remarks, Commissioner Vandeven acknowledged the collaborative efforts of various stakeholders that have led to improvements benefiting the state's nearly 900,000 public school students and their families. These improvements include addressing educator recruitment and retention issues, enhancing school safety, raising standards and accountability, expanding career and technical education, streamlining early childhood education, implementing a statewide reading program, and effectively managing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

President Shields commended Commissioner Vandeven's unwavering commitment to the well-being of students and recognized her leadership during challenging times. Commissioner Vandeven announced her resignation well in advance to provide the State Board of Education ample time to select her successor, promising to continue working tirelessly on behalf of Missouri's students and educators during her remaining months in the position.

Connecting All Missourians

Digital Opportunity Plan & BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 1

Today DED has released drafts of its State Digital Opportunity Plan and BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 1 for public comment and is requesting public feedback. These documents will inform the state's plans for spending more than $1.7 billion toward broadband deployment and more than $20 million toward addressing non-infrastructure barriers to full participation in the digital world.

The Digital Opportunity Plan establishes Missouri's vision for digital opportunity, including overarching strategies and goals to bridge the digital divide.

Draft Digital Opportunity Plan

Public Input Survey

The BEAD program promises to bring service to every Missouri location lacking service. The Initial Proposal Volume 1 lays out the rules by which OBD will determine eligibility for the BEAD program and conduct a statewide broadband map challenge process.

Draft BEAD Initial Proposal Volume 1

Public Input Survey

You may provide input through the surveys until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, November 26, 2023. If you are unable to submit comments online, you may submit comments by contacting DED at 573-751-4962.

Taking Care of YOU

Resolutions: My office offers Courtesy Resolutions for birthdays, deceased loved ones, Eagle Scouts, Girl Scouts, Glory Awards, Marriage, Retirement, Sports, Wedding Anniversary's, and Veterans. To request one, please call my office at (573) 751-2165.

Flags: Are you in need of a new flag? I offer new Missouri State and United States flags upon request. If you need a flag for a special circumstance, we can even fly it over the capitol for you. These flags are available for any non-profit organizations and groups.

Scheduling a Capitol Trip: If your school is traveling to Jefferson City, contact my capitol office to set up tours times for the Capitol, Supreme Court, and Missouri State Penitentiary. These tours fill up fast in a first come first serve basis. Please give us a months' notice in order to ensure you get tours of everything.

I am always in your service,

State Representative

Ann Kelley

Proudly Serving District 127