Register now for AIM Legislative Updates

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YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING IN JEFFERSON CITY!

Don’t trust that everything that is done in Jefferson City will benefit your business. While we have had great success in lowering taxes and improving the business environment in Missouri, much of our work also prevents bad things from happening to businesses like yours. Regardless, you need information so you may be informed.

Associated Industries of Missouri is pleased to present our legislative updates in a video format.

Rather than conducting conference calls or webinars, we will be recording video and making it available to you frequently so you may watch on your schedule. You may watch on your phone, tablet, or computer. We will also feature interviews with legislators and other key policy makers from time-to-time.

But wait…there’s more!

You may now register for your area of interest and we will provide an update just on those issues!

For example, if you are a human resources professional, you may want to register for and watch the “HR Issues Update” and learn only about issues that affect your job. If you are a tax professional, you may want to register for and watch the “Tax Update.” If you are most interested in tort reform, you may rather watch the “Legal Reform Update.” And if you want to know everything that is going on, you may register for “The Works” and receive the complete update we have always provided.

The information you need, on your schedule, without wasting your time!

The videos will be updated regularly (when sufficient action has occurred to warrant reporting) during the 2020 Legislative Session. A link will be sent to you when a new video is posted. Best of all, these video updates are FREE to members of Associated Industries of Missouri.

If you know of fellow business people that would be interested in these updates, please send them to us by having them contact Ray McCarty: rmccarty@aimo.com or (573) 634-2246.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

AIM releases legislator vote ratings for 2019 Legislative Session

Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) has released vote ratings showing how legislators voted on important business issues during the 2019 Legislative Session.

At Associated Industries of Missouri, we make sure your business’ voice is heard in the Missouri Capitol. We regularly testify on issues that are important to your business and our team of lobbyists helps ensure legislators know where we stand on issues.

Part of the political process is holding legislators accountable for the positions they take, either for or against issues that would make Missouri a better place to do business. Equally important is helping to stop the regular assault on employers by trial attorneys and others.

Not every vote rating system is the same, so we want to explain how we rated legislators’ votes in the following pages. We assemble the most important issues in each legislative session, assign a value based on the importance of that issue, and a legislator receives points if they voted in accordance with AIM’s position on that particular bill. We then total the scores for each legislator for each session to obtain the AIM Score.

Several things that are not reflected in the score are very important to us as we work in the Capitol to pass pro-employer legislation. Committee chairmen and women have great power to either advance or stop legislation. And sometimes, legislators will filibuster and block a bill that is favorable to business. There is no accurate way to reflect these activities in a vote rating system, but they are still factors in our ability to accomplish our legislative agenda.

An upward facing green arrow indicates the legislator supported the business position on the bill. A red downward facing arrow indicates the legislator either voted against the business position on the bill or the legislator was absent for the vote when AIM was advocating for passage of the bill. A legislator’s absence on one vote could keep them from getting a higher score, even though the absence may be unavoidable. Nonetheless, these vote ratings generally show an accurate picture of the support we receive from legislators on issues important to business.

YOU MAY FIND THE VOTE RATINGS FOR 2019 HERE.

VOTE RATINGS FOR 2018 are on our State Election Center page HERE

If you have questions on the scores, please call the AIM office at (573) 634-2246.

Feds investigate UAW corruption – former leader resigns union membership

It has been a tough few months for several United Auto Workers union leaders, to say the least.

Former UAW President Gary Jones and a top aide have been accused of conspiring to embezzle more than $700,000 in member dues and splitting the money. Also, criminal charges have been filed against Edward “Nick” Robinson of St. Louis, president of a regional UAW community action program council conspiring to embezzle union funds and conspiracy to defraud the federal government.

Jones announced last week he would resign his membership in the UAW, having already been removed as the union’s leader.

You can read more about both stories in the Detroit News here and here.

Associated Industries of Missouri backed a bill that would have allowed union members to decide whether they should support their union with their dues. The “right to work” legislation, after it was passed by the legislature, was referred to voters following a successful signature campaign led by union officials. Union leaders convinced union members the measure would weaken the union. AIM and other business groups argued the proposal would give members a stronger voice in the operation of their unions.

Voters ultimately rejected the “right to work” proposal by a wide margin.

“It would have been very interesting to see if this type of corruption could be prevented if union members would have had the stronger voice that would have been provided by the right to work bill,” said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. “We believe it would have required union leaders to work harder for their members’ support. Perhaps if union leaders had to prove their value, they would spend more time representing their members interests and less time on vacation at their members’ expense,” he said.

NAM: Monday Economic Report

  • The personal consumption expenditures deflator rose 0.2% in October. The core PCE deflator, which excludes food and energy prices, inched up 0.1%. Over the past 12 months, the PCE deflator has risen 1.3%, or 1.6% year-over-year for core inflation. For 10 consecutive months, or in every month so far in 2019, the core PCE deflator has remained below the Federal Reserve’s stated goal of 2.0% core inflation. 
  • With core inflation running below the Federal Reserve’s target, FOMC policymakers are more concerned with keeping the economic recovery moving at this point than with inflationary pressures. With that said, the Federal Reserve has communicated its intentions, including in a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell last week, to hit the pause button on future moves until it can assess the impacts of the three rate cuts made at the past three FOMC meetings. Additional decreases in the federal funds rate would likely come only if the economy weakens further.  
  • The U.S. economy grew 2.1% at the annual rate in the third quarter, up from the previous estimate of 1.9%. Consumer spending, government expenditures, the housing market and inventories were bright spots, with drags coming from net exports and nonresidential fixed investment. It was the second consecutive quarter with reduced business spending, with firms anxious about slowing global growth and trade uncertainties.
  • However, consumers have helped to prop up the economy. In the latest data, personal spending increased 0.3% in October, with a solid 3.7% gain year-over-year. Personal incomes were flat for the month, pushing the saving rate down to 7.8%. Nonetheless, Americans have saved more this year than last.
  • Consumer confidence fell to a five-month low in November, according to the Conference Board, but sentiment remains high overall.
  • New durable goods orders rose 0.6% in October, bouncing back somewhat after falling 1.4% in September and pointing to some possible stabilization in the sector. Yet, the sector remains challenged in general, down 0.7% over the past 12 months. Core capital goods—a proxy for capital spending in the U.S. economy—increased 1.2% in October, but on a year-over-year basis, this figure has decreased 0.8%.
  • Manufacturing surveys from the Dallas and Richmond Federal Reserve Banks both reported contracting activity in November, but respondents felt cautiously positive in their outlook for the next six months.
  • New single-family home sales pulled back somewhat, down 0.7% in October, but that was off from an upwardly revised September figure, which was the best since July 2007. The data remain encouraging—a sign that homebuyers have reacted favorably to reduced mortgage rates and a better outlook. Indeed, new single-family home sales have jumped 31.6% over the past 12 months, up from 557,000 units in October 2018.

NAM: Monday Economic Report

  • New housing starts rose 3.8%, up to an annualized 1,314,000 units in October. Over the past 12 months, new residential construction has increased 8.5%, with single-family housing starts jumping 8.2% since October 2018. This suggests that homebuyers continue to respond positively to lower mortgage rates, with the overall housing market bouncing back after being in the doldrums over much of the past year. Homebuilder optimism also reflects that positivity.
  • Indeed, housing permits rose 5.0% in the latest report, up to 1,461,000 units at the annual rate in October, the fastest pace since May 2007. The headline number was buoyed by strong growth in single-family permitting, up to 909,000 units, a rate not seen since August 2007. Overall, new residential construction permits have soared 14.1% year-over-year, which should signal healthy growth for the housing sector moving forward.
  • Existing home sales rose 1.9% to an annualized 5.46 million units in October, with single-family activity up 2.1% for the month. Sales have risen a healthy 4.6% over the past 12 months. National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun anticipates sales continuing to rise in the coming months, especially with lower mortgage rates and strong income growth. 
  • The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI improved in November for the third consecutive month to the best reading since April, led by stronger expansions for new orders, output, employment and exports. Along those lines, manufacturing activity in the Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank’s district expanded for the ninth straight month, with respondents very positive in their outlook for the next six months.
  • In contrast, the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing survey contracted for the fifth consecutive month in November, reflecting weaknesses in the sector and the sample comments citing frustrations about trade uncertainties and the continuing challenges with finding talent.
  • Meanwhile, the IHS Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI also improved, rising from 45.9 in October to 46.6 in November, a three-month high. The index for future output increased to the best reading since June (55.0), with cautious optimism for growth in production over the next six months. With that said, it was the 10th consecutive monthly contraction in European manufacturing activity, led by Germany, which has seen declines in every month so far this year.
  • The Index of Consumer Sentiment improved for the third straight month, according to the University of Michigan and Thomson Reuters. Moreover, the headline measure rose from 95.5 in October to 96.8 in November, which was well above the preliminary estimate of 95.7. Americans felt more upbeat about their outlook for the coming months, but this was offset somewhat by a weaker assessment of the current economy, with respondents citing political and trade uncertainties.

“Missouri Viewpoints” hosts AIM president McCarty to discuss Missouri manufacturing

The Missouri Viewpoints program, hosted by Mike Ferguson and syndicated statewide, recently interviewed Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) regarding manufacturing.

Specifically, McCarty talked about a new initiative led by AIM, Missouri Enterprise, Governor Mike Parson’s administration, university officials and more, to establish a manufacturing policy in Missouri, the “Manufacturing Policy Academy.”

Funding for the Manufacturing Policy Academy has been provided by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The goal: to provide a sustainable manufacturing policy in Missouri.

McCarty talked about the effort, along with manufacturing incentives and the importance of manufacturing to Missouri’s economy in this short video (courtesy of Missouri Viewpoints).

NAM: Monday Economic Report

  • Manufacturing production declined 0.6% in October, extending the 0.5% loss in September and falling for the seventh time year to date. The latest decrease was led by a sharp decline in motor vehicles and parts production, down 7.1% and negatively impacted by the strike at General Motors. Excluding motor vehicles and parts, manufacturing production fell 0.2% for the second straight month.
  • With that said, the November manufacturing production data will likely reflect a rebound in both motor vehicle and parts production and in the headline indices, with the GM strike now settled.
  • Overall, the data continue to reflect struggles in the manufacturing sector related to weaker global growth and trade uncertainties. Manufacturing production has fallen 1.5% over the past 12 months, for instance, declining on a year-over-year basis for the fourth consecutive month.
  • Meanwhile, total industrial production also declined, down 0.8% in October on reduced manufacturing, mining and utilities output. Industrial production has fallen 1.1% over the past 12 months, and total capacity utilization declined from 77.5% to 76.7%, the lowest since September 2017.  
  • For its part, manufacturing activity in the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s district expanded for the fifth straight month in November, although at a slower pace, with survey respondents positive in their outlook for the next six months.
  • Retail sales increased 0.3% in October, bouncing back from the 0.3% decline in September, with a modest 3.1% rise over the past 12 months. In addition, spending grew 3.7% year-over-year with motor vehicles and gasoline station sales excluded. As such, consumer spending has continued to be a bright spot in the economy over the past year, even as it has also been clear that Americans have slowed their spending year to date.
  • Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testified before Congress that the Federal Open Market Committee is likely to pause before making additional moves as it assesses incoming data. After reducing short-term interest rates three times over the course of the past three meetings, the FOMC sees “the current stance of monetary policy as likely to remain appropriate as long as incoming information about the economy remains broadly consistent with our outlook of moderate economic growth, a strong labor market and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective.”
  • On that note, the Federal Reserve’s preferred measure of inflation is the personal consumption expenditures deflator, and using that indicator, core price growth has remained below the FOMC’s stated goal of 2% for nine straight months, up 1.3% year-over-year in September.
  • Similarly, producer prices for final demand goods and services have decelerated significantly in recent months, up just 1.0% year-over-year in October and the lowest since September 2016. In addition, core producer prices have grown 1.5% year-over-year, the slowest pace since October 2016.
  • In contrast, consumer prices rose 0.4% in October, the fastest monthly pace since March, with 1.8% growth year-over-year. At the same time, core inflation (which excludes food and energy) increased 0.2% in October, with 2.3% growth over the past 12 months.