State Senate gives preliminary approval to highway funding bill

The Missouri Senate Thursday gave first round approval to legislation that will raise the state tax on gasoline by 1.5 cents per gallon and the tax on diesel by 3.5 cents per gallon. After lengthy debate, the Senate voted 18-13 to perfect the bill with a change from Sen. Rob Schaaf that not only raises the fuel tax by a smaller amount than suggested by the original version of Senate Bill 540, but also creates a committee that will assess public-private partnerships. Those partnerships are most often used to create and oversee toll roads. SB 540, sponsored by Sen. Doug Libla (R-West Plains) originally called for the fuel tax to be raised by 6 cents per gallon over three years and to automatically adjust for inflation in future years.  Meeting with objection from many senators, he then sought to reduce the increase to 2 cents per gallon. Schaaf’s amendment lowered the increase on gasoline even further to 1.5 cents per gallon, but raised

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AIM member to add jobs in Hermann

The Missouri Department of Economic Development this week announced that AIM member Moore Gear and Manufacturing Company will invest $1.8 million into its facility in Hermann and add 34 jobs in the next five years. The company makes custom gears and gear racks for industrial, agricultural, machine tool, and commercial markets throughout North America. The company was founded in St. Louis in the 1930’s and moved to Hermann in 1987. The company investment will increase the facility by 17,500 square feet. Bill Haag, Sr., Moore Gear President and CEO, attributes the company’s success to the highly skilled employees working at the facility and looks to continue to grow employment opportunities at the Hermann location. The company has nearly doubled its employment since 2008. “The city’s commitment to creating a pro-business climate while tackling the difficult challenges facing many rural communities motivated us to make this investment in Hermann,” Haag said. This is the second time in just six years Moore

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More automotive manufacturing growth in Missouri announced

AIM’s Manufacturing Jobs Act of 2010 continues to pay dividends. Tuesday, leading plastic manufacturer U.S. Farathane announced that it was opening its first Missouri production facility in the Kansas City suburb of Riverside. The company says it will spend more than $51 million to set up its operation that should employ 267 people in the next three years. Based in Auburn, Mich., U.S. Farathane has been a leading source of plastic manufacturing, supplying the automotive industry for over 40 years. Designing and producing highly engineered plastic injection-molded components for both functional and decorative parts, the company supplies products to OEMs around the world. U.S. Farathane employs more than 2,700 employees nationwide and with the addition of the Missouri facility, U.S. Farathane will have 11 U.S. manufacturing locations. “Riverside is right in the heart of the action—it’s close to OEMs, it has an experienced workforce, and a business-friendly environment. Expanding to Missouri puts U.S. Farathane in a great position to better serve

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House passes expansion of Manufacturing Jobs Act

The Missouri House Tuesday gave final approval to legislation expanding Associated Industries of Missouri’s Manufacturing Jobs Act to all types of manufacturers. By a margin of 87-63, House members voted to move the bill on to the State Senate. The Manufacturing Infrastructure Investment Act, is handled by Rep. Nick King (R-Liberty). It is designed to follow up on the success of the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act of 2010.  A series of incentives that encourage businesses to invest in new products and increased production lines of manufacturing, the Manufacturing Jobs Act has spurred an automotive industry renaissance in Missouri that has seen phenomenal growth at Ford Motor Company in Claycomo, the General Motors plant in Wentzville, and at small and mid size manufacturers throughout the state that provide parts to the automakers in Missouri and beyond. Statistics published by the Missouri Economic Research Information Center show that manufacturers and suppliers in the automotive industry in Missouri have invested $1.29 billion in capital investments, added or retained 14,000 jobs

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Governor signs tax amnesty legislation

Governor Nixon has signed legislation that allows a one-time opportunity for delinquent taxpayers to pay all back taxes without penalty in Fiscal Year 2016. House Bill 384, sponsored by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Tom Flanigan, is expected to bring in about $25 million in additional tax revenues that would not otherwise be collected. It would allow any taxpayer to pay delinquent taxes due on or prior to December 31, 2014 without penalty or interest, if they are paid between September 1 and November 30, 2015. During the legislative process, the bill picked up several amendments in the Senate, that were accepted by Flanigan. Among the changes, language that mandates that any funds brought in by the amnesty program go to fund some Medicaid programs, such as dental care. Additional items added to the bill are taxpayer friendly, including adding a provision to the Taxpayer Bill of Rights that states taxpayers have a right to fair and consistent application of the tax laws, the

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Business leaders and legislative leaders meet in Missouri Capitol this week

The Board of Directors of Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) held a meeting at the State Capitol this week and invited many legislators to visit with them regarding business issues. Eight legislators, including leadership from the Missouri Senate and the Missouri House, participated in the discussions on Tuesday, with topics ranging from transportation infrastructure, tort reform and tax issues to EPA regulations affecting utility bills. Legislators attending the meeting included Speaker John Diehl, Jr., Senate Majority Floor Leader Ron Richard, House Majority Floor Leader Todd Richardson, Senator Bob Onder, Senator Doug Libla, Rep. T.J. Berry, Rep. Kevin Austin, and Rep. Kevin Corlew. Business leaders present at the meeting included the following: Ray Wagner, Enterprise Holdings, Chairman of the AIM Board; Jerry Jost, Jost Chemical Company, First Vice-Chairman of the Board; John Valenti, Sanofi US, Second Vice-Chairman of the AIM Board; Christine Cudney, Secretary/Treasurer of the AIM Board, Ameren; Steven Burger, Burgers’ Smokehouse; Rob Carney, Caterpillar, Inc.; Patrick Daly, Sierra Bullets, LLC;

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Legislature sends $26 billion budget to Governor Nixon

The Missouri State Legislature this week gave final approval to a $26 billion budget that includes more money for education, but cuts spending for the Department of Social Services. The budget was passed about two weeks ahead of its deadline date. If the governor wants to veto budget line items, he must do so while legislators are still in session, giving them an opportunity to override his vetoes before the deadline for working on appropriations bills. By our calculation, the governor must return his vetoes by May 7 and the legislature must conclude work on appropriations bills by May 8. The budget allocates an $84 million increase to elementary and secondary education over the current fiscal year and an additional $12 million to the higher education line. The budget for the Department of Social Services comes in at about $8.6 billion, but includes $550,000 less in spending than the current fiscal year. Those cuts include $620,000 less for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

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Expansion of Manufacturing Jobs Act begins movement in House

Exciting news this week, as legislation expanding Associated Industries of Missouri’s Manufacturing Jobs Act to all types of manufacturers received first round passage in the House of Representatives. House Bill 627, the Manufacturing Infrastructure Investment Act, is handled by Rep. Nick King (R-Liberty). It is designed to follow up on the success of the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act of 2010.  A series of incentives that encourage businesses to invest in new products and increased production lines of manufacturing, the Manufacturing Jobs Act has spurred an automotive industry renaissance in Missouri that has seen phenomenal growth at Ford Motor Company in Claycomo, the General Motors plant in Wentzville, and at small and mid size manufacturers throughout the state that provide parts to the automakers in Missouri and beyond. Statistics published by the Missouri Economic Research Information Center show that manufacturers and suppliers in the automotive industry in Missouri have invested $1.29 billion in capital investments, added or retained 14,000 jobs and supported an additional 21,000 jobs since the

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McCarty appears on KWOS Radio in Jefferson City

Associated Industries of Missouri president Ray McCarty appeared this week on KWOS Radio in Jefferson City. He was a guest on the “Open Air” program on Tuesday morning. Ray is a frequent guest on the program as the “eyes and ears” on business issues at the State Capitol. On this week’s show, Ray addressed several issues including the passage of SB 19 on apportionment issues, employment law reform, aligning state and federal laws for discrimination, whistle-blower and work comp retaliation,and new proposed discrimination classes for sexual orientation and gender identity – issues for business. Listen to the interview below.

Letter from Congressman Graves: The EPA’s Assault on Private Property

Dear Friend, From granting amnesty to illegal immigrants, to trying to weaken the Second Amendment through executive order, the Obama administration has shown time and again its disdain for the Constitution. Unfortunately for the President, he cannot simply regulate what Congress has refused to legislate. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been one of the worst offenders of executive overreach under this administration. Most recently, I am hearing from people who are rightly concerned about the agency’s “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule. WOTUS allows the EPA to regulate ditches, flood plains, and any water or wetland they believe could possibly affect the waters of the United States – including ponds or streams on our farmland. As a farmer and a representative of rural North Missouri, I find this to be a blatant over-reach into our private property rights. This rule was developed without examining the economic impact on private citizens and farmers, and destroys the state and federal partnerships established by

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