Right to work constitutional amendment heard in committee

SJR 40, sponsored by Sen. Caleb Rowden (R- Boone and Cooper Counties), would ask Missouri voters to allow a person to work without having to join a union. The constitutional amendment would be presented to voters in the November, 2018, general election according to the constitution unless the governor put the issue on the ballot in a special election before then. The right to work issue will already be presented to voters as unions gathered and presented sufficient signatures to place a bill passed last year with the same language before voters in November 2018. If approved, the current ballot initiative would be a statutory change that could be amended by the legislature. SJR 40 would place the provisions in the Constitution, requiring a vote of the people to change its provisions. Associated Industries of Missouri supports enacting a right to work law because of the economic development benefits it would provide as some companies will only locate their new

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Mo. Transportation and Development Council and AIM support transportation bills

The Missouri Transportation and Development Council (MTD) and Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) backed several proposals that would increase motor fuel taxes to pay for additional transportation improvements in Missouri. HJR 96 and HJR 97, sponsored by Rep. Bill Reiboldt (R-160 Neosho) would increase gasoline taxes by 10 cents per gallon if approved by voters. Diesel taxes would increase by 12 cents per gallon if HJR 97 were approved by voters. Both resolutions were heard this week in a House Committee. SB 734, sponsored by Senator Dave Schatz (R-Franklin and St. Louis County) would also increase the gas and diesel taxes by 10 cents per gallon without no voter approval required. The bill was heard in the Senate Transportation Committee this week.

Missouri Senate advances bill that increases business income taxes and reduces other taxes

On a voice vote, the Missouri Senate on Wednesday gave initial approval to SS#2 SCS SB 617, 611 and 667, a major state tax overhaul bill. Sen. Bill Eigel (R-23, St. Charles County), one of the key sponsors of the bill, noted the importance of reducing income taxes as he talked through the various provisions of the bill. This most recent version of the tax reform bill would lower the corporation income tax rate from 6.25% to 5.25%, lower the individual income tax rate from 5.9% to 5.25% and establish a new “Missouri Working Family Tax Credit” equal to 10% of the taxpayers federal earned income tax credit. The corporation income tax rate cut would amount to $44-48 million reduction in corporation income taxes. However, while the bill does cut some taxes, it also increases taxes, particularly those paid by businesses. Corporations are currently entitled to deduct 50% of their federal income taxes from their state corporation income tax returns.

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U.S. economy grew at a pace very close to Trump’s 3 percent goal at end of last year

The U.S. economy expanded at a rate of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday, much better than Wall Street analysts expected and very close to President Trump’s goal of 3 percent growth. The strong growth came largely from Americans opening their wallets to spend more. Businesses also boosted their spending at the end of last year, beefing up their inventories as executives expect sales to pick up. There was also more federal government spending, especially on defense, according to the report. The new estimate revises the government’s previous estimate for growth from October through December, which was 2.5 percent. The jump to 2.9 percent growth was better than economists expected and means that the U.S. economy grew at an average pace of 3.1 percent from April through December of last year. The U.S. economy has been growing for more than eight years, already making this the third-longest expansion in U.S. history. It could easily become

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute: Missouri electricity price below the national average

From the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute has launched their annual Average Electricity Retail Prices Map which reflects what consumers, businesses, and industry must pay for a standardized unit. This map has indicated that Missouri’s energy prices are below the national average. This gives Missouri a competitive advantage in retaining companies and attracting new businesses, while consumers benefit from lower power costs.

Sales tax bonding relief advances to Missouri House

Earlier this week, SB 884 was perfected and third read in the Missouri Senate. The bill moves to the House for further consideration. Current law requires the Director of Revenue to require all applicants for a retail sales license and all current licensees in default in filing a return and paying taxes due to file a bond with the Director. This act allows, rather than requires, the Director to request such a bond. The act also removes the ability of the Director to request such a bond from a retail sales license applicant. READ MORE HERE

Coal ash bill clears Missouri Senate

SB 917 was perfected and third read in the Missouri Senate this week. The bill now moves to the House for further consideration. Currently, all fly ash produced by coal combustion generating facilities across the state is stored in ash ponds, coal combustion residual (CCR) landfills and impoundments. SB 917 will give the Missouri Department of Natural Resources the authority to promulgate rules and approve target levels for the management, closure, and post-closure of coal combustion residual (CCR) units. Under this act, “CCR unit” means a surface impoundment, utility waste landfill, or a CCR landfill. Certain rules relating to surface impoundments, utility waste, and CCR landfills are required to be promulgated by December 31, 2018. READ MORE HERE

Manufacturers ramp up pressure on Senate to fill Ex-Im Bank board

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is ramping up pressure on the Senate to quickly vote on the four Export-Import Bank nominees. Jay Timmons, the head of NAM, sent a letter on Thursday to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and the rest of the Senate urging lawmakers to schedule votes for nominees to the Export-Import Bank’s board of directors, which will become vacant on Friday. “The lack of a functioning Ex-Im Bank is not only one of those serious economic problems, but also one that can be easily solved given the strong bipartisan support for confirmation of the four Ex-Im Bank nominees,” Timmons wrote in a letter obtained by The Hill. “Manufacturers want to see holds on these nominees lifted and swift action to move these nominations to the floor for consideration as soon as possible,” he wrote. The four nominees — Kimberly Reed, Spencer Bachus, Judith Pryor and Claudia Slacik — were approved by the Senate Banking Committee

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$1.3 trillion budget calls for billions in Missouri defense spending

The $1.3 trillion budget approved by the U.S. House on Thursday and the Senate early Friday includes a handful of big expenditures in Missouri, including orders for Boeing’s facility in the St. Louis area and funding for the planned National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s western headquarters. The legislation allocates about $1.8 billion for 24 Navy F/A-18 fighter jets to be built by Boeing at its location in Hazelwood. It also calls for $200 million for the construction of the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency facility in St. Louis. The bill also includes about $100 million for a new hospital and $12 million for a new blood-processing center at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, according to Sen. Roy Blunt. READ MORE HERE