Legislative staff previously estimated that Missouri could collect nearly $20 million less in franchise taxes for 2014, compared to the previous year, because of the phase-out. “It’s another step in the right direction,” said Ray McCarty, the president of the Associated Industries of Missouri, a business association. But business groups contend more tax cuts are needed for Missouri to remain competitive with neighboring states such as Kansas and Oklahoma, which cut their income tax rates. In the 2014 legislative session “we’ll continue to push for broad-based tax relief for Missouri employers,” McCarty said. Read more here:
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Missouri’s state legislators return to the State Capitol on Wednesday January 8th for the start of the 2014 legislative session. For the next five months, lawmakers will file more than 2,000 pieces of legislation, hold countless meetings and spend hundreds of hours in debate. And we here at Associated Industries of Missouri will be keeping up with all of it. For the last 95 years, Associated Industries has been the Voice of Missouri Business at the State Capitol. We are also its eyes and ears. And we want to invite you to join us each Monday morning beginning January 6 for a legislative briefing webinar. AIM president Ray McCarty and the most experienced lobbying team in the State Capital take a look at the most important legislation for business…what the legislation does, what the bill’s prospects are and where the bill is in the legislative process. As always, we invite your questions and participation. We look forward to having you
Holiday Spending Up 3.5%. Bloomberg News (12/27, Rupp, Timberlake) reports that retail sales “rose 3.5 percent during the holiday season this year, helped by deep discounts at malls and purchases of children’s apparel and jewelry, MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse said.” Sales of “holiday-related categories, such as clothing, electronics and luxury goods, rose 2.3 percent from Nov. 1 through Dec. 24 compared with a year earlier, the Purchase, New York-based research firm said today.” In its lead story, the CBS Evening News (12/26, lead story, 2:20, Axelrod) characterized the Mastercard Spending Plus numbers, along with those compiled by the National Retail Federation, as “disappointing.” CBS (Brown) added, “Deep discounts and extended hours couldn’t get Americans to spend as much as stores expected” so now retailers are “cutting prices even more.” Still, the piece portrayed the coming days as likely to be key in ultimately determining what kind of holiday sales year this is going to be. Jobless Claims Down Sharply Last Week. The Wall Street Journal (12/27, Portlock, Subscription Publication)
The Associated Press reports on the Missouri jobless rate in the St. Louis Post Dispatch. The story follows here: JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. • Missouri’s unemployment rate declined in November while payrolls expanded by 15,000 jobs. The Missouri Department of Economic Development reported Tuesday the jobless rate fell to 6.1 percent in November from 6.5 percent in October. The leading gainer was educational and health services, which added 5,200 jobs last month. The construction sector grew by 2,300 and professional and business services increased by 2,000 jobs. The information, leisure and hospitality sectors each declined by 200 jobs. Missouri’s civilian labor force was about 3 million, which is down 244 from October. The labor force includes people with jobs and those who are on unemployment but looking for work.
The St. Louis Business Journal follows up on the Boeing 777x announcement. Here’s the story. Boeing this week will narrow “down to a handful” the possible sites for production of its new 777X commercial jet, a Boeing executive said Tuesday in an email message to employees. Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Connersaid Boeing had received proposals from 22 states covering 54 sites and reiterated that the company would decide where to build the aircraft “early next year,” according to a copy of the message posted to the Washington Aerospace Partnership’sFacebook page. Conner’s said the company had not withdrawn its second offer to the Machinists union in Washington state but that union leaders had rejected it “in short order,” and expressed disappointment in the outcome of last week’s talks. Union leaders there have said they will not bring the new offer to a vote before union members, some of whom have rallied for such a vote. Missouri has pledged a total of $3.5 billion in tax
The Kansas City Business Journal reports on legislation recently filed by State Senator Ryan Silvey (R-Kansas City): After more than 150 years of bad blood and lots of talk about ending the so-called economic development Border War, legislative action to end the competition between Missouri and Kansas is being introduced in Jefferson City. On Wednesday, State Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, filed Senate Bill No. 635 [PDF], which would take the key ammunition used in courting business across the state line — tax breaks and direct financial support — away from Missouri legislators. If the bill is enacted, jobs relocated from a Kansas border county — Johnson, Wyandotte, Miami or Douglas counties — to a Missouri border county will not qualify for state tax credits, retention of state withholding taxes or any direct state funding. That bill will be considered during the General Assembly’s coming legislative session, which begins in January. Gov. Jay Nixon made a splash in November when he announced his support for
NBC Nightly News (12/18, story 5, 0:30, Williams) reported that by a vote of 64-36, the Senate on Wednesday night “passed a budget to fund the Federal government.” Lawmakers hope the measure “will avert another shutdown for at least another two years.” The Los Angeles Times (12/19, Mascaro) reports that while the “$85-billion package is modest in scope,” it “represents a rare bipartisan achievement for a divided Congress that has spent the past two years engaged in high-stakes standoffs over government budgets.” Under the deal, “spending for 2014 and 2015 will rise by $63 billion, reversing some across-the-board cuts to defense accounts and social programs that only the most conservative lawmakers wanted to keep.” However, the Washington Post (12/19, Montgomery) says that the measure “does not erase the threat of a government shutdown.” Rather, it “merely sets the parameters of federal spending levels; it leaves work on the details up to the House and Senate appropriations committees.” Meanwhile, “some conservatives are calling for another showdown,” demanding spending cuts in
In a press release, the National Association of Manufacturers (12/18) said NAM and the Virginia Manufacturers Association have filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia to stop the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs from compelling speech and violating the First Amendment as a result of its “posting requirement” rule. VMA President and CEO Brett Vassey said: “Protecting Virginia’s ‘right to work’ status is integral to the mission of the VMA and the success of Virginia’s manufacturers and contractors, and the OFCCP rule tips that delicate balance.” Vassey also said, “We’re proud to join with the NAM to take our case to the courts where we expect another ruling in favor of the First Amendment.” The AP (12/19) reports NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly said, “The courts have already ruled that these posters amount to compelled speech and extend beyond the intent of the National Labor Relations Act.” Kelly also said, “Federal contractors deserve
Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT) today released a staff discussion draft of a revenue-neutral international tax reform plan. Based on the One Pager and longer Summary, Legislative Language and the Joint Tax Committee Technical Explanation obtained by the NAM, specific provisions in the plan call for: The simplification and streamlining of energy incentives for renewables Creates a new credit for clean electricity Creates a new credit for clean transportation fuel Repeal of 11 current energy-related tax incentives not targeted on domestic production of electricity or fuels. The Summary also notes several other issues that the Committee is seeking input on, these include: Whether action should be taken on tax incentives for other aspects of the U.S. energy economy including efficiency, transmission, combined heat and power and storage As an alternative to incentivizing clean energy, the Committee seeks input on the merits of creating a tax or fee on heavy polluting technologies or air pollution and what the tax/fee should look like Transition rules