Pluribus AM: Tax cuts in Mo., Google settles with Ariz., and new polls from coast to coast

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2022. In today’s edition: Mo. gov signs billion-dollar tax cut; Ariz. reaches a massive settlement with Google; new polls in Fla., Calif., N.H., Vt. and Md.:

Top News

WORKFORCE SHORTAGE: Corrections systems across the country are hurting for workers, and several states are turning to big cash bonuses to lure new employees. Colorado’s Department of Corrections is offering up to $7,000 sign-on bonuses for new officers. In Delaware, new officers stand to earn $10,000 bonuses, double the current bonus. (Colorado Sun, Delaware Public Media)

MISSOURI: Gov. Mike Parson (R) will sign a $1 billion package of income tax cuts today after the state Senate gave final approval in a bipartisan vote on Tuesday. The package will drop the income tax rate from 5.3% to 4.5% if Missouri hits revenue targets. Parson also won $40 million in tax credits directed at agriculture businesses. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

MICHIGAN: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed a $1 billion spending plan that directs $846 million to an economic development fund meant to attract new business to the state. The legislature put $1 billion into the fund in 2021, most of which went to GM and Ford plants. (Detroit News) The bill won bipartisan support, but it split the House Republican conference in Lansing. Appropriations Committee chairman Thomas Albert (R) quit his leadership post in opposition.

NEW YORK: State health officials plan to issue regulations governing 23 chemicals that have been named “emerging contaminants” in drinking water. The state will regulate four polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, and monitor an additional 19 compounds. (State of Politics) Keep an eye out, other blue states are likely to follow New York’s lead here.

ARIZONA: Attorney General Mark Brnovich (R) on Tuesday announced an $85 million settlement with Google for allegedly tracking user locations with “deceptive and unfair” practices meant to sell ads. He said the settlement is the largest per capita that Google has paid in a privacy lawsuit. Google said the case was based on old policies that were replaced long ago. (Arizona Republic)

FLORIDA: The devastation caused by Hurricane Ian has officials scrambling to ensure they can conduct the midterm elections well. The deadline for Florida to send out mail-in ballots is tomorrow, but USPS service hasn’t resumed in some areas. Election administrators in the six counties around the hardest-hit Fort Myers area are still assessing damage to polling places. (Politico)

ILLINOIS: Legislators are likely to use a special session beginning Nov. 15 to make changes to the SAFE-T Act, the major criminal justice overhaul passed in the wake of the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Some legislators want to give judges more leeway to decide if someone is a flight risk. Without changes, the bill would eliminate cash bail in January. (WTTW)

NORTH CAROLINA: The state Supreme Court heard new arguments in a case challenging whether justices have the right to throw out state legislative district maps that are overly gerrymandered. Attorneys for the Republican-controlled state Senate said justices went too far and should limit their own powers. (Raleigh News & Observer) For those of you keeping track at home, this case is separate from Moore v. Harper, which the U.S. Supreme Court will hear later this term.

VERMONT: The state Department of Health and Department of Mental Health is launching Facing Suicide, a new program aimed at educating the public about how to intervene before a suicide attempt. Vermont reported 142 suicides in 2021, the highest number ever recorded. (VTDigger)

In Politics

ARIZONA: Former TV broadcaster Kari Lake (R) and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) are tied at 49% apiece in a new CBS News survey out today. Don’t expect this race to be called on Election Night. The last three polls in this race: Lake +1, Lake +3, Hobbs +1.

FLORIDA: Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) leads ex-Rep. Charlie Crist (D) 52%-41%, according to a Mason-Dixon poll out this morning. DeSantis’s job approval rating stands at a healthy 55%, well above his 45% nadir in July 2020. Republicans are polling well ahead in races for Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Agriculture Commissioner. (Orlando Sentinel)

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Gov. Chris Sununu (R) maintains a big lead over state Sen. Tom Sherman (D), 50%-34% in a new St. Anselm College poll. Sherman leads among women voters 42%-40%, but Sununu has a huge lead among men, 61%-25%. 

VERMONT: Gov. Phil Scott (R) is on track to win a fourth term. A University of New Hampshire Survey Center poll shows Scott up 49%-31% over Democratic nominee Brenda Siegel, with three independent candidates pulling a combined 8%. Scott’s job approval rating is at 63%. 

CALIFORNIA: Voters say they back Proposition 30, a ballot initiative to impose a tax on the wealthy to fight greenhouse gas emissions, by a 49%-37% margin according to a new Berkeley IGS poll. Among the measure’s opponents: Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), who cut an ad calling the measure a corporate giveaway to the ride-sharing firm Lyft. (Sacramento Bee) Newsom is cruising to another term, leading state Sen. Brian Dahle (R) 53%-32%. 

MARYLAND: A ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for recreational use is leading by a wide margin in Maryland, 73%-23%, according to a new Washington Post-UMD poll. More than half of Republicans and more than half of those over 65 back the measure.

OREGON: Nike co-founder Phil Knight dropped another $2 million on former state Sen. Betsy Johnson’s independent campaign for governor last month, bringing his total contributions to $3.75 million. Johnson has outspent both her major party rivals, former state House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) and House Minority Leader Christine Drazan (R). (The Oregonian) The most interesting governor’s race in America today, for our money.

By The Numbers

$1 trillion: The total size of Illinois’s economy, measured in annual GDP, according to a new report from the Illinois Economic Policy Institute and the Project for Middle Class Renewal. Illinois is the fifth state to hit the trillion-dollar mark, after California, Texas, New York and Florida. (Crain’s Chicago Business)

$965 million: The amount of taxable sales Nevada’s legal cannabis industry reported over the last fiscal year, a decline of 4% form the year before. Analysts say the drop represents an easing of demand after the pandemic-era spike. (Nevada Independent) Still, we can’t recall seeing a year-over-year revenue decline in any state that’s legalized recreational pot.

Off The Wall

Next time you go to Columbus, Ohio, bring your earmuffs. The average Columbus resident swears 36 times per day, according to a survey by the language tutoring company Preply, more than residents of any other city in the nation. Residents of Phoenix; Portland, Ore.; Boston and Milwaukee report swearing the least on an average day. (Preply) Are we the only ones wondering whether they need a more representative sample from Boston?

A major Utah health system and a San Francisco-based technology company are launching a new program that will deliver medication and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals to customers in South Jordan by drone. Intermountain Healthcare says they will be able to expand the program to reach about a million Utahns within five years. (Deseret News)