Good news and bad news for employers delivered

Posted July 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

by Missouri Chamber of Commerce

JEFFERSON CITY – Today is the final working day before the governor’s deadline to veto, sign or allow bills to become law. Gov. Nixon took action on several pieces of legislation that impact Missouri’s business community, delivering both good and bad news.

GOOD NEWS

House Bill 128 –Made in Missouri Act

Gov. Nixon signed into law House Bill 128, which provides Missouri manufacturers a new option for calculating taxable income in Missouri. The Missouri Chamber, which was the lead advocate for the measure, called the bill the “Made in Missouri Act.”

“House Bill 128 creates a new filing option that takes away the penalty for businesses that manufacture products in Missouri for sale outside of our state,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “Because of the current tax structure, Missouri-based manufacturers are moving productivity out of state to avoid this double taxation. This legislation keeps Missouri jobs in Missouri.”

Apportionment formulas are important features of state corporate income taxes. The formulas determine how much of a business’s income is taxable and affect the rate and competitiveness of the tax. Since 1973, Missouri has had a single sales apportionment factor that taxes Missouri businesses on products manufactured in or distributed from Missouri but sold in other states.

Senate Bill 125 – Education Reform

Gov. Nixon signed into law Senate Bill 125, legislation which removes the two-year waiting period that exists between the classification of a school district as unaccredited and the lapse of the district’s corporate organization. Instead, when the State Board of Education initially classifies, or reclassifies, a district as unaccredited, it must review the governance of the district to establish the conditions under which the existing school board will continue to govern or determine the date on which the district will lapse and determine an alternative governing structure for the district.

“This will greatly reduce the time to action by the State Board of Education for failing districts in the state,” Mehan said.

In addition, under the law, teachers in the St. Louis school district can now be removed for incompetency or ineffectiveness. This was not the case prior to passage.

“This will help administrators replace any ineffective teachers currently operating in the district with quality educators,” Mehan said.

House Bill 34 – Prevailing Wage Reform

By not taking action on House Bill 34, Gov. Nixon has allowed House Bill 34 to become law, a significant victory for employers. House Bill 34 eliminates the prevailing wage mandate on new construction of public projects in much of outstate Missouri (3rd and 4th class counties).

“Prevailing wage law is antiquated policy that has outlived its purpose,” Mehan said. “This legislation addresses that fact and provides relief to outstate Missouri, where it is needed most. We believe it will save thousands of taxpayers’ dollars on public projects. This is money that can instead be spent on education and other public needs, not artificially inflated wages.”

House Bill 446 – Real Estate Loan Reform

Gov. Nixon did not sign, but has allowed House Bill 446 to become law. This legislation makes it clear that county and city ordinances do not supersede state and federal laws governing loans.

“We believe banking laws should be consistent statewide in their application and that any regulations should be formulated at the state or federal levels,” Mehan said. “This will make sure our state’s banks will not have to commit extraordinary resources to track different regulations in each of our state’s local jurisdictions and will be following the same regulations statewide in terms of foreclosures and mortgage regulations. The effect of this legislation will keep lending costs lower for banks and, in the end, consumers.”

BAD NEWS

House Bill 650 – Omnibus Environmental Protection Bill

Gov. Nixon vetoed House Bill 650. House Bill 650 is legislation that contained numerous provisions relating to the environment and the Department of Natural Resources, including several strong provisions for Missouri employers. One of the key benefits of House Bill 650 for Missouri employers was a provision that would have provided successor liability tort reform, by capping punitive damages that can be assessed against employers from actions of previous business owners.

“We are not surprised to see Gov. Nixon side with the Trial Bar by vetoing this legislation,” said Mehan.

House Bill 650 would also have helped to streamline the environmental permitting process for Missouri employers, reducing the time and cost this process currently takes, while ensuring that Missouri’s natural resources are protected. The legislation extends the clean water fees, keeping the funding stream viable to maintain state control of this water regulation. This language was also included in House Bill 28, which was signed into law by the governor.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.

in governor’s action on pending 2013 legislation