U.S. Senator Roy Blunt visits AIM, talks with business and community leaders

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt visited the offices of Associated Industries of Missouri this week for a meeting with business and community leaders regarding the impact of the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Several state and local officials also attended the well-attended meeting, including Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, Missouri Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, State Representative Sarah Walsh, Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin, various county and school officials and several candidates for state representative. Business and community leaders relayed how the federal tax cut had impacted them, their customers and constituents. Senator Blunt emphasized the importance of allowing taxpayers and job creators to use more of their money to improve their business or personal lives. Some businesses reported expanding their businesses by adding employees, investing in equipment, and expanding their facilities. A utility company representative noted a bill passed during the 2018 legislative session in Missouri would result in lower rates as the utility company returns the benefits

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Trump plans to go ahead with steel, aluminum tariffs on EU

President Trump’s administration is planning to impose tariffs on European steel and aluminum imports after failure to win concessions from the European Union. This move that could provoke retaliatory tariffs and start a trade war. U.S. and European officials held talks in Paris on Thursday to attempt to reach a deal, though hopes are low. The tariffs are likely to go into effect on the EU with an announcement before Friday’s deadline, according to two people familiar with the discussions. The administration’s plans could change if the two sides are able to reach an agreement. Trump announced in March that the United States would slap a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum, citing national security interests. But he granted an exemption to the EU and other U.S. allies which expires Friday. “Realistically, I do not think we can hope” to avoid either U.S. tariffs or quotas on steel and aluminum, said Cecilia

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U.S. economy grew by 2.2 percent

The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported that the U.S. economy grew by an annualized 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2018, off marginally from the prior estimate of 2.3 percent growth. Overall, real GDP growth continued to expand at the fastest pace in three years, even as it represented some easing from the 2.9 percent growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2017. Since the end of the Great Recession, the U.S. economy has expanded 2.2 percent on average, with 2.3 percent growth in 2017. Moving forward, real GDP should grow by roughly 3 percent in 2018, which would be the strongest growth rate since 2005. Passage of tax reform and other pro-growth measures should help to stimulate economic activity, allowing the US to reach that goal. READ MORE HERE

Missouri Enterprise: 3 Things to Consider (and it’s all about DATA)

From Missouri Enterprise LauraLee Rose, ASQ-certified Six Sigma Black Belt & Project Manager for Missouri Enterprise, believes with her whole heart that data can either make or break a company. She would like to share a few thoughts a company should consider when using Six Sigma tools as a means to growth and how data plays a crucial role. LauraLee Rose: Our Six Sigma is a problem-solving methodology with the purpose of reducing variation in processes to reduce defects. It’s based on the use of proven statistical tools to analyze data. Here are 3 things you need to think about if you’re interested in using these powerful quality tools in the framework of the phases of Six Sigma: define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC): 1. One of the primary tenets of Six Sigma is that data should drive all decisions.  Traditionally, often manufacturing decisions have been made by following gut instinct or “I think…, I feel…, I believe…”. Six

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Governor Greitens resigns, Lt. Governor Mike Parson will become governor

On Tuesday Gov. Eric Greitens announced that he will resign from office. His resignation will be effective at 5:00 p.m. Friday, June 1, 2018. A legislative committee had been deliberating whether to bring impeachment proceedings against Greitens amid allegations that carry felony charges in Missouri. Lt. Gov. Mike Parson will become governor and is expected to serve out the remainder of Greitens’ term. “While we are saddened by the circumstances, we are optimistic that Governor Parson will continue and enhance pro-business policies, programs and efforts that were started by Governor Greitens as well as advancing his own priorities and ideas,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO or Associated Industries of Missouri. “We thank Governor Greitens for his leadership and look forward to working closely with Governor Parson on issues that are important to all Missouri businesses,” he said. READ MORE HERE

MoDOT to determine construction priorities ahead of gas tax vote

Missouri voters will decide in November whether to gradually increase the state’s motor fuel tax by 10 cents per gallon.  Analysts say this could eventually generate an additional $293 million for the state’s road fund. If voters approve the measure, the state’s tax on gas and diesel would increase to 27 cents by 2022. Taxes on alternative fuels, including natural gas and propane, would also rise. MoDOT will meet with regional planning commissions this month to determine what projects should be priorities in the coming years. Patrick McKenna, director of the Missouri Department of the Department of Transportation, declined to provide a specific list of projects that were priorities, deferring to the local process that will play out this summer. But, as he has done often in recent years, McKenna stressed the importance of the funding increase, which would bring Missouri from the lowest gas tax in the nation to just above the current national average of 24 cents per

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Greitens approves moving ‘right-to-work’ vote to August

Gov. Eric Greitens has approved a plan to move a vote on the state’s “right-to-work” law from November to August, when voter turnout tends to be lower. Greitens on Thursday signed a resolution that was approved by lawmakers last week. The law, approved by the Republican Greitens and Missouri’s GOP-controlled legislature in 2017, would ban the mandatory collection of union fees in the state. Before the law could take effect last year, labor groups submitted an initiative petition seeking to let voters decide on the issue. “Every day that goes by that Right to Work is not the law in Missouri we miss out on more opportunities to add new facilities or additional work at existing facilities from companies that will only locate that work in Right to Work states,” Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri, testified at the hearing on SCR 49. “We don’t even know the opportunities we are missing because we don’t meet

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