By Senator Eric Schmitt Missouri businesses face increasingly competitive business climates from our neighboring states. While Missouri has made strides to address overly burdensome taxes businesses face in our state, including a business income deduction I authored, the Show-Me State still must compete to attract and retain strong businesses, which means more jobs for Missourians. One of our early legislative victories for Missouri businesses and jobs was capping the corporate franchise taxes and instituting a complete phase out of this outdated tax. We achieved this by passing legislation I introduced in 2011 with bipartisan support. Now, five years later, the corporate franchise tax has been completely phased out. The corporate franchise tax was imposed on corporations operating in the state and taxed them based on the value of their outstanding shares. In addition to taxes due on income, corporations would be required to pay the franchise tax for merely doing business in Missouri. This served as a disincentive for businesses
AIM president Ray McCarty presented Missouri employers objections to a Senate bill designed to make LGBT Missourians a protected class under state employment law. McCarty’s statement was included in a story about a Senate hearing on SB 653, the so-called “Missouri Nondiscrimination Act” sponsored by Sen. Joseph Keaveny. The testimony was used in a television story on KRCG-TV in Jefferson City during its 5:00 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. You can view the story here
The Missouri House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee Tuesday night passed tax legislation that has long been on the Associated Industries of Missouri’s legislative agenda. The committee, on a vote of 10 to 1, approved advancing House Bill 1582, sponsored by Rep. Mike Kelley (R-Lamar), legislation aimed at helping small businesses reduce some of the burdensome paperwork of withholding tax filing. The legislation changes the amount of withholding tax that requires a quarterly return from $20/quarter to $100/quarter – allowing businesses with less than $100/quarter in withholding tax to file a withholding tax return just once per year. It’s estimated that the bill will decrease the number of returns filed with the Missouri Department of Revenue by about 20,000 per year. House Bill 1435, sponsored by Rep. Andrew Koenig (R-Manchester), the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman, speeds up the process by which sellers get refunds in the event they overpay their sales taxes and ensure taxpayers that have paid taxes in
Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) today registered its opposition to legislation that would allow employers to be sued for alleged discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Association opposes this legislation because it creates a new line of potential lawsuits against employers for a new class of discrimination cases. “While we encourage policies that discourage discrimination, we do not believe creating a new line of lawsuits against employers is the correct way to address this issue, especially with the low standard of proof that currently exists under the Missouri Human Rights Act (the “contributing factor” standard),” said Ray McCarty, president of Associated Industries of Missouri in testimony at the hearing. The bill is SB 653, sponsored by Sen. Joe Keaveny. Senator Keaveny is the chairman of the committee hearing the bill – the only Democrat controlled committee in the Missouri Senate. The Committee took no action after hearing testimony. We will keep you posted
AIM is pleased a bill requiring the actual cost of medical services, rather than the value, be used in determining settlements has advanced from its initial committee. The Senate Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee advanced the bill on a 5-1 vote today. The bill is SB 847, sponsored by Senator Ed Emery (R-31, Lamar).
Sen. Scott Sifton (D-1, St. Louis County) received a hearing on SB 695, a bill that would require equal pay for equivalent work performed, regardless of gender. If you thought “equal pay for equal work” was already the law, you’re right. It is already the law. This bill is different. It reflects an ongoing effort to require employers to pay equal pay for work that is “equivalent.” We opposed the bill because the term “equivalent” is subjective, employers would be liable in court if they get it wrong, and the current statutes already protect men and women performing the same work. According to proponents of “equal pay for equivalent work,” the comparisons that have already been made prove our point. School head secretaries and audiovisual technicians, registered nursing assistants and plumbers, cashiers and stock clerks, secretaries and lab technicians, finance clerks and maintenance workers, etc. As you can see, there is no rhyme or reason to the comparisons. But under the
The Hill (1/22, Henry) reported that the NAM and other business groups on Friday filed a federal court motion opposing a Sierra Club-led lawsuit that seeks a stricter standard for ground-level ozone than the 70 parts per billion approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. Explaining the business groups’ stance that the EPA standard “is too difficult to meet and will hurt manufacturers as localities move to conform to it,” The Hill quoted NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly as saying: “This could be one of the most expensive regulations in history, creating significant barriers to manufacturers’ ability to open new plants and expand existing operations. As the administration continues to pile regulations on our nation’s manufacturers, we will continue to challenge these overreaching rules in court.” The NAM and the two other groups have filed their own lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the stricter ozone standard, The Hill noted. E&E Publishing’s Greenwire (1/22, Reilly, Subscription Publication),
Reuters (1/21, Hurley, Volcovici) reports a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has denied an effort by 27 states and industry groups to block the Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). While the court’s order denying the states’ application to stay the CPP means the regulations on carbon dioxide emission will remain in place while litigation over it continues, the court’s decision is not the end of the legal battle, as the appeals court must hear oral arguments and rule on the regulation’s legality. According to The Hill (1/22, Cama), the court’s ruling was a “major early win” for the Environmental Protection Agency; however, opponents of the CPP “did score a win in Thursday’s order,” as the court “agreed to expedite the litigation process, scheduling oral arguments for June 2.” Also reporting on the court’s ruling were Politico (1/21), the New York Times (1/21, Davenport, Subscription Publication), the AP (1/21, Biesecker), and McClatchy (1/21, Tate).
An Environmental Leader (1/20, Hardcastle) analysis looks at the potential cost implication on US manufacturing that the recently announced coal lease moratorium on federal lands may have. While energy companies and business groups “contend the coal-lease moratorium will increase businesses’ electricity costs,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis has indicated the moratorium “will have little immediate impact on the US coal supply.” The NAM “says coal production has been vital” to the resurgence of US manufacturing, which uses about one-third of the country’s energy. According to the NAM’s vice president of energy and resources policy, Ross Eisenberg, “At a time when manufacturing is facing strong international headwinds, the last thing we need is a moratorium that undercuts our competitive advantage in energy.” Eisenberg stated the Interior Department “should conduct a full examination into the impact on the manufacturing community and the men and women are involved in the manufacturing supply chain supporting the coal sector” before altering its
1-21-2016 The Missouri Senate this morning, on a vote of 20-10, gave its approval to SB 591, sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, a bill that would allow Missouri to join more than 40 other states and the federal government in using federal standards for determining whether a witness is an expert or not in court proceedings. “Associated Industries of Missouri has long supported this legislative change and we greatly appreciate the quick action on the bill, led by sponsor Sen. Mike Parson, and Senate leadership,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “Common sense dictates that Missouri use a standard in evaluating expert witnesses that is used in most state courts and federal courts.” The bill now moves to the Missouri House for further action.