Messenger: Ameren is aiming for a price hike when he urges lawmakers to provide him a cute tax deal on Tony Messenger

Boone County Assessor Tom Schauwecker has a question for Ameren Missouri executives.

"Would Ameren sell its natural gas facilities for what they want to appreciate?"

The answer to the question should impact three related debates about Ameren and the tariffs customers end up charging for electricity. The investor-owned utility giant announced last week that it is looking to increase tariffs for both electricity and natural gas customers.

Since Ameren is a monopoly, it must seek approval for such rate increases from the Public Service Commission. However, this is generally just an over speeding. Legislative changes in favor of the utility company and a weakened office of the public attorney supposed to represent consumers have made Missouri regulators a hallmark over the years.

Ameren says it needs to raise your interest rates to fund new investments in the power grid, and that's a good thing so that Missouri doesn't experience a Texas-type outage. As Ameren's left hand seeks an increase in tax rates, the right hand tries to save millions in tax payments that are used to fund rural schools.