AIM for Good Business Week in Review
Nathan Dampf, AIM Director of Communications, 4/28/2011
GOVERNOR NIXON THIS WEEK SIGNED ONE OF THE AIM LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES, WHILE HE ALSO ANNOUNCED HIS INTENT TO VETO ANOTHER
On Tuesday, this week, Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 19 into law. The bill eliminates the Missouri Corporation Franchise Tax over a 5-year period and caps the amount existing corporations owe at the 2010 levels. Governor Nixon’s signature on this bill promotes the economic certainty that businesses have been needing for years. Since Gov. Holden, the Missouri Executive and Legislative branches have been chipping away at the Corporation Franchise Tax, but have not eliminated Missouri’s double-tax on corporations.
AIM President Ray McCarty was quoted in the Governor’s press release and the St. Louis Business Journal stating, “Associated Industries of Missouri has always advocated for elimination of the Missouri Corporation Franchise Tax. This tax currently results in double tax for all Missouri corporations. We applaud the Missouri legislature and Governor Nixon for eliminating this tax once and for all."
While the governor did sign one of this year’s business priorities, he also announced his intentions to veto another. Senate Bill 188 revises several parts of Missouri employment law. The legislation:
- Eliminates supervisor liability;
- Limits discrimination claims to the federal standard (requiring discrimination to be a "motivating factor" in the decision to dismiss the employee); and
- Allows "whistleblower" protections to only those employees that are notifying authorities of actual wrongdoing by the employer.
Over the past five years, Missouri’s courts have ruled in several cases against Missouri employers. Those decisions have forced the costs of doing business in Missouri to increase due to large court settlements and misguided rulings that grant “whistleblower” protections to employees who “blow the whistle” for legal activity.
The General Assembly could attempt a legislative veto override, however the Republican majority in the House has fallen by one with the recent election of Representative Sally Faith as the new Mayor of St. Charles. In addition to losing Faith’s vote, eleven Republicans voted against the bill and only picked up two Democrat votes.
GOV. NIXON SIGNS PUPPY MILL PROPOSITION CHANGES AND ASKS FOR ADDITIONAL COMPROMISE LANGUAGE
On Wednesday, this week, Governor Nixon signed Senate Bill 113. The bill revises the Puppy Mill Protection Act, enacted by the November 2010 Proposition B vote. The language in Prop. B limited breeders to no more than 50 dogs and enacted other kenneling provisions as well as food and drink offenses. Groups from both sides met the past several weeks to come to a compromise. Senate Bill 161 contains complimentary language that will strengthen key provisions of SB 113 to ensure the proper care and treatment of dogs, while protecting Missouri's agricultural industry.
SENATE AND HOUSE AGREE TO REDISTRICTING COMPROMISE
The Missouri House and Senate met a self-imposed deadline to pass a redistricting bill to Governor Nixon in enough time to override a veto if the Governor does just that. House Bill 193 was passed in the late hours of Wednesday night by a vote of 96 to 55 in the House of Representatives and 26 to 7 in the Senate. With Missouri’s slow population growth realized in the 2010 Census, the state lost a congressional seat.
The General Assembly was tasked with deciding how Missouri’s nine congressional seats should be carved into eight. In the compromise (because this certainly is NOT the end), Congressmen William Lacy Clay and Russ Carnahan – both democrats – ended up in the same district. Rural legislators still oppose the bill as Congressman Emanuel Cleaver’s new district reaches out to areas of Lafayette County. And, Jefferson County Representatives are upset since their area was cut into three congressional districts. All eyes turn to Nixon’s office and then whether or not the legislature will override a veto.
The differing opinions can be viewed by CLICKING HERE.
SENATE PASSES TAX REFORM BILL ONCE THOUGHT TO BE LEGISLATIVE AND POLITICAL LOG-JAM
Wednesday night into the early hours of Thursday morning, Senators worked on an issue considered the longtime log-jam of the Missouri Capitol. House Bill 116 & 316 contains language said to be “the most vital piece of economic development reform that can pass this year,” by Missouri’s Economic Development Chief David Kerr. COMPETE Missouri combines several economic development plans in Missouri statute into one program but also allows up-front financing if the Director of Missouri Economic Development Department sees that as the best tool to attract a new business to the Show Me State. The bill also reforms Missouri’s current tax credit programs by requiring a one-to-one return on investment while making other credit programs subject to annual state appropriations. Also added to the bill is the Aerotropolis legislation which encourages international trade in the St. Louis Lambert Airport corridor, and the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act to promote scientific research in the state.
Other programs that were capped or reformed include Missouri’s Circuit Breaker Property Tax Credit, the low-income housing tax credit, and the Missouri Historic Preservation Tax Credit; each of which has been the focus of major debates the past three years. The state will save an estimated $58 million by removing circuit breaker tax credits to individuals paying rent and caps the low-income housing and historic preservation credits. Overall, the bill is estimated to save the state $1.5 billion.