Press conference highlights several bills to fight back against Governor Nixon’s “War on Missouri Taxpayers”

State Rep. Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester) is working with his colleagues in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate to advance several proposals aimed at protecting Missourians from the governor’s war on taxpayers. During a press conference at the State Capitol Monday, Koenig said the various pieces of legislation are necessary because the Department of Revenue has continued to seek new methods for generating revenue by treating Missouri families and businesses unfairly. “It’s clear that our governor and his administration are trying to squeeze every penny they can out of hardworking Missourians,” said Koenig. “It’s also clear that they are in many cases using very questionable interpretations of the law to impose these tax hikes.” “Our best line of defense against this war on taxpayers is to pass legislation that will make it crystal clear that the executive branch is not allowed to abuse the people of this state,” said Speaker of the House, Rep. John Diehl (R-Town and Country). “Too often, government bureaucrats run rampant over the rights of Missouri

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Missouri business leaders and officials meet to discuss EPA Clean Power Plan Proposal

  The St. Louis Regional Chamber of Commerce today hosted a policy roundtable examining Missouri’s energy future, specifically the detrimental impact of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan proposal on the state’s continuing access to affordable and reliable energy. The discussion occurred the day before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s third and final regional technical conference in St. Louis. FERC, the agency charged with ensuring reliability of the nation’s electric grid, was spurred by Congressional leaders to take a more active role in assessing the impacts of EPA’s proposal. Joe Reagan, president and CEO of the St. Louis Regional Chamber acknowledged the importance of bringing this group together. “Ahead of its visit to St. Louis, we wanted to be sure that FERC heard from the business community,” said Reagan. Former Missouri Public Service Commissioner Terry Jarrett said, “The issue of grid reliability is not within the purview of EPA regulators; rather, it is overseen by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. And while common sense would suggest that EPA regulators

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NAM-backed resolutions part of Senate budget proposal

IndustryWeek (3/27) reported that in an overnight legislative session that stretched into Friday morning, “the Republican-led Senate approved a budget” containing “hundreds of amendments,” including “dozens that affect manufacturers and how they run their businesses.” IndustryWeek said NAM Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse had sent a letter to the Senate regarding amendment votes on its budget resolution, and the association’s views on several of the amendments are presented in a slideshow on the magazine’s website: a Clean Power Plan opt-out (SA 396), offered by Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH); data and online security (SA 536 and SA 595), offered, respectively, by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Dan Coats (R-IN); state regulation of “fracking” (SA 414), by Sens. Hatch, James Inhofe (R-OK), and James Lankford (R-OK); state rules on oil shale development (SA 745), by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT); carbon taxes (SA 350), by Sens. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and John Thune (R-SD); greenhouse-gas emissions (SA 653), by

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NAM: 130 Women in Manufacturing honored

The Manufacturing Institute honored 130 outstanding women in manufacturing at the Women in Manufacturing STEP Ahead Awards on March 26 in Washington, D.C. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Production (STEP) Ahead Initiative promotes the role of women in manufacturing through recognition, research and leadership. The honorees and emerging leaders participated in professional development sessions and heard from U.S. Department of Commerce Senior Advisor for Manufacturing Policy Erin Sparks, National Economic Council Senior Policy Advisor J.J. Raynor and ABC News White House Correspondent Ann Compton as well as NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. Women make up approximately 50 percent of the labor force, but only about 25 percent of the manufacturing workforce. STEP Ahead aims to inspire the next generation of female manufacturing leaders

Threat of retaliation looms for manufacturers in the United States

NAM Vice President of International Economic Affairs Linda Dempsey testified on March 25 before a House Agriculture subcommittee on an imminent international trade risk to a broad range of manufacturers in the United States. The hearing explored the implications of potential retaliatory measures taken against the United States in response to U.S. meat-labeling requirements that are out of compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. It is widely expected that the WTO will soon find—for the fourth time—that these U.S.-labeling requirements discriminate against imports from Canada and Mexico and will authorize both those countries to retaliate against billions of dollars of U.S. exports. Dempsey testified on behalf of NAM members and as co-chair of the COOL Reform Coalition. Launched a year ago, the Country-of-Origin Labeling (COOL) Reform Coalition comprises companies and associations from across the U.S. economy advocating U.S. compliance with its WTO obligations. The coalition is urging action to avoid WTO-authorized retaliation on a wide variety of U.S. nonagricultural

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Letter: Ex-Im Bank benefits St. Louis area, nation’s economy

In a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (3/24), Thom and Debbie Wellington of suburban Wildwood, Missouri write about their recent trip to Washington, DC, where they met with members of Congress to discuss the “the importance of maintaining the Export-Import Bank.” Despite claims from both parties that the Bank fosters “crony capitalism” for big business, the Wellingtons argue that “there are thousands of small companies like ours that count on business from these large manufacturers across the entire country.” They note that, with 160,000 jobs directly tied to manufacturing and over 8,900 US companies reliant on the Bank’s continued presence to sell their goods abroad, allowing the charter of this profit-making institution to expire would “take away a vital tool that allows our companies to compete worldwide.”

Republicans pitch budget amendment to let states opt out of Clean Power Plan

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put forward a budgetary amendment to allow states to opt out of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from the nation’s power plants by 30% by 2030. The Senate could vote on the budget this week. The Hill (3/25, Cama) reports that McConnell proposed the amendment “on behalf of Sen. Rob Portman,” the junior senator from Ohio “who is up for reelection in 2016.” The amendment would give either the “governor or legislature” of a state the option of being exempted from the EPA rule for a number of reasons, including the cost of the rule on “low-income or fixed-income households,” the risk to grid reliability, the possibility of reduced “investments in power plants,” and harm to a state’s manufacturing sector or to its overall employment and tax base. Additionally, on Monday, House Republicans presented “another kind of opt-out for states” that would allow governors

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Sen. Schmitt leads “Pork Steak Rebellion” against EPA

Sen. Eric Schmitt is a big man. A former basketball player at Truman State University, Schmitt claims to be the largest State Senator in history. He likes tax cuts, and he likes his backyard barbecues. Now the EPA is looking into whether backyard barbecues are hazardous to the environment. The EPA is finding out…don’t mess with Eric Schmitt’s backyard barbecues. “Fired up! Let’s fight the #PorkSteakRebellion together,” Schmitt tweeted earlier this month upon learning of the EPA study. ““The idea that the EPA wants to find their way into our back yards, where we’re congregating with our neighbors, having a good time, on the 4th of July, barbecuing pork steak or hamburgers, is ridiculous and it’s emblematic of an agency that’s sort of out of control,” Schmitt told Fox Business News. The EPA is funding a study on propane grill emissions that suggest pit masters use a special tray to catch grease drippings and a “catalytic” filtration system to reduce air pollution. The

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Consumer prices rise for the first time in four months in February

By Chad Moutray, chief economist, National Association of Manufacturers The Bureau of Labor Statistics said that the consumer price index (CPI) rose for the first time in four months, up 0.2 percent in February. This was largely due to higher gasoline prices, which increased 2.4 percent in February. To be fair, the price of regular gasoline remains 33.5 percent lower today than it was 12 months ago. Indeed, the average price of regular gasoline declined from $3.639 a gallon on June 23 to $1.982 a gallon on January 26, according to the Energy Information Administration. It then rose to $2.256 per gallon on February 23, and has since edged up to $2.347 this week. Meanwhile, food prices increased 0.2 percent in February, with 3.0 percent growth over the past 12 months. Despite the higher overall figure for food, the data were mixed in February. Prices were higher for beef, eggs, fish, fresh fruits, juices, poultry and spices. In contrast, coffee, dairy

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Work comp retaliation, discrimination and whistleblower bill headed to House floor

Representative Kevin Austin has sponsored HB 1019, a bill that addresses the Missouri Human Rights Act, addresses whistleblower statutes, and corrects a Missouri Supreme Court case that has left employers vulnerable to abusive lawsuits regarding work comp retaliation. A House Committee Substitute for HB 1019 was passed by the Select Committee on Labor and Industrial Relations this week that aligns Missouri’s discrimination statutes with the federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964), by requiring discrimination to be a motivating factor in an employment decision if the employer is to be held liable in a discrimination claim. The same standard would be applied to work comp retaliation cases.  Also, whistleblowers would be afforded protection if they are truly alerting authorities (including their supervisor, human resources department of their company, a company officer, or a member of law enforcement) to an illegal act of the employer, but employers would be afforded protection against those that currently claim whistleblower

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