Stadium task force submits proposal to NFL

From the St. Louis Business Journal The St. Louis Mississippi riverfront stadium task force said its proposal is being delivered to the National Football League and team owners Tuesday. Copies went to the six NFL owners who serve on the league’s Los Angeles Opportunities Committee, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, all other owners and St. Louis Rams ownership and executives. The NFL had imposed a Dec. 30 deadline for stadium proposals in St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego. The cities are looking to build stadiums in their home markets to keep their NFL teams from moving to Los Angeles.  Claudia Cappio, the city of Oakland’s assistant city administrator, told the San Francisco Chronicle the city won’t meet the NFL’s Wednesday deadline to submit a stadium proposal; instead it will provide a letter updating league officials on efforts. League owners are then likely to vote Jan. 12-13 in Houston whether to allow the Rams, Raiders, Chargers — or some combination of teams

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State minimum wage to remain the same in 2016

Good news for Missouri employers. For the first time in four years, the state’s minimum wage will not rise automatically in 2016. Voters decided in 2006 that the wage floor should be adjusted annually for inflation, and that has meant a modest increase most years. In 2015, Missouri’s minimum wage rose 15 cents to $7.65 an hour.  The adjustment is determined by each July’s reading of the Consumer Price Index for urban wage earners and clerical workers, or CPI-W for short. The federal Labor Department announced that the CPI-W fell 0.3 percent between July 2014 and July 2015. Missouri law says the minimum wage can decrease when inflation is negative, but the CPI-W didn’t fall quite enough for that to happen. A 0.3 percent reduction would take the minimum down to $7.627, and rounding to the nearest nickel keeps it at $7.65. All employers subject to the state minimum wage need to post information about the law and its provisions in

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States fight ‘irreversible consequences’ of EPA climate rule

AIM appreciates Attorney General Chris Koster’s continued efforts in this fight on the state’s behalf. From The Hill A coalition of 27 states struck an urgent tone Wednesday in a new plea for a federal court to stop enforcement of the Obama administration’s landmark climate change rule for power plants. The states warn that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule is already affecting energy markets, forcing states to prepare for its implementation and causing irreparable harm, even if state compliance plans aren’t due until 2018.  “The declarations from EPA and its supporters … establish beyond any serious doubt that the [Clean] Power Plan is already having far-reaching, immediate, and irreversible consequences,” the states, led by West Virginia and Texas, wrote Wednesday to the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.   While the EPA and its allies argued to the court that there is no urgency and no need to block the rule while the litigation proceeds, the state

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St. Louis aldermen approve stadium funding plan — now it’s the NFL’s turn to act

Associated Industries of Missouri supports any solution that keeps NFL football in St. Louis. From St. Louis Public Radio The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave its blessing to a measure aimed at keeping the St. Louis Rams in town. Now, it’s up to the NFL’s owners to see if this potentially expensive gambit paid off. “The important thing is that we are in the game,” said Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed. “We are now in a position where we have to be considered. If we decided not to pass this bill so that we wouldn’t even be considered in January, I think that would have been a bad position for the city to be in.” The board gave final approval on Friday to a bill spelling out St. Louis’ share of the roughly $1.1 billion stadium. Passage was never really in doubt, especially after the bill received a favorable reception in committee and during initial approval. In essence,

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Increased efficiency is always the goal – but it is not the solution

From Stephen R. Miller, Chairman, Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission. Every business should endeavor to be more efficient – MoDOT is no different. As Patrick McKenna takes over as director, the Commission has asked him to scrutinize all MoDOT operations and procedures. This is what CEOs do when they take over a new enterprise. They bring their prior experience and outsider’s perspective; they take a fresh look at what may have become so routine and accepted it is no longer questioned by those within the organization. The Commission knows that MoDOT will benefit from a newcomer’s perspective. It has been suggested by some that Missouri’s transportation funding crisis can be solved by simply squeezing more efficiencies out of MoDOT. Such suggestions ignore the fact that MoDOT has already done just that. In March of 2010, MoDOT embarked on a five-year effort to reduce its workforce by 20 percent (from 6,300 to just over 5,100 – a reduction of 1,200 employees);

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Senate passes spending bill; Obama to sign into law

The Senate gave final congressional approval Friday to a $1.1 trillion spending package that averts a government shutdown. The House overwhelmingly approved the package earlier Friday. The lopsided 316-113 House vote was a major victory for new House Speaker Paul Ryan. He secured the votes of 150 Republicans — a majority of the House GOP conference. Ryan’s predecessor, John Boehner, rarely got that kind of backing from Republicans on a spending bill when ran the House. Kansas GOP Rep. Tim Huelskamp, a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, told CNN he believes Republicans wanted to give Ryan a fresh start. The vote is not “a function of the spending bill but … a courtesy to the new speaker,” said Huelskamp, who voted against the bill. He warned that Republicans who supported the measure will get grief from constituents when they go home. Huelskamp also argued the bill is a “Christmas present to Donald Trump” because it represents another example

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House approves tax package

From NAM’s Manufacturing Economy Daily In a 318 -109 vote on Thursday, the House approved the first portion of the year-end budget deal, a “huge package of tax breaks for businesses and low-income workers,” the New York Times (12/18, Herszenhorn, Subscription Publication) reports. Under the measure, “several tax breaks that have been renewed repeatedly on a temporary basis,” including a business tax credit for research expenses and a benefit for certain capital investments, would be permanently extended. In a statement, House Speaker Ryan “called the measure ‘a pivotal step towards rewriting our broken tax code by ending Washington’s days of extending tax policies one year at a time.’” The Los Angeles Times (12/18, Mascaro) also reports that the House approved “a massive package of tax breaksThursday,” making permanent dozens of specialty tax breaks “that have been renewed year to year.” The bill now moves to the Senate, where it is set to be combined with a $1.1-trillion omnibus spending measure.

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House set to pass spending bill with $600 billion in tax cuts

The Wall Street Journal (12/17, Rubin, Subscription Publication) reports that the House is set to approve a bipartisan spending bill that includes more than $600 billion in tax cuts that will help various businesses and manufacturers as well as many others. The Journal briefly highlights a number of the tax provisions, including a provision that will allow small businesses to write off up to $500,000 in capital cost instead of limiting them to $25,000 and a provision that makes the tax credit for company research and development. The spending bill also delays or suspends certain taxes associated with the Affordable Care Act, including the so-called “Cadillac tax” and medical device tax. The New York Times (12/17, Pear, Subscription Publication) examines the tax deal, noting that businesses in various industries will benefit from the bill, from cider makers to medical device makers. The AP (12/17, Ohlemacher) states that “there is a tax break for almost everyone” in the measure but “only

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McCarty tells AIM’s side of St. Louis stadium debate during talk show appearance

AIM president Ray McCarty appeared this week on the Martin Kilcoyne Show on KTRS Radio in St. Louis. Kilcoyne and co-host Randi Naughton wanted to get AIM’s take on the St. Louis football stadium situation, and find out about the Missouri Wonk study commissioned by AIM that pointed out the tax revenue loss to St. Louis if the Rams leave town and are not replaced by another NFL team. Listen to the interview below. . The Martin Kilcoyne Show runs Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on KTRS, AM 550 in St. Louis, and online at http://www.ktrs.com

Fed raises interest rates by 0.25 percentage points

From NAM’s Shopfloor Blog Media coverage of the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade was wide spread, with much of the coverage presenting the move as a milestone in the economy’s recovery from the Great Recession. The New York Times (12/17, Appelbaum, Subscription Publication), calls the Fed’s “widely anticipated decision” a “vote of confidence in the strength of the American economy at a time when much of the rest of the global economy is struggling,” adding that it is “the most important and riskiest decision the Fed has made under the leadership” of Chairwoman Janet Yellen. USA Today(12/17, Davidson) says the move marks “a historic milestone” in the nation’s recovery. In “a nod to inflation that remains unusually low and vestiges of the downturn that continue to thwart a more vibrant economy,” Fed policymakers signaled that they “intend to nudge up rates even more gradually than anticipated the next few years.”

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