September 18, 2014

GMC adding 750 jobs to Wentzville plant

General Motors will add a third shift to its plant in Wentzville to make pickups and vans, adding 750 new jobs beginning early next year.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the new shift will bring employment at Wentzville to 3,350 workers. Plant manager Nancy Laubenthal says anticipated demand for two midsized pickups that will be made at Wentzville, the GMC Colorado and the GMC Canyon, played into the decision to increase production there.

This will be the first time the Wentzville plant has had three shifts.

New survey of food needs in Missouri (AUDIO)

A new study of heavy demands on Missouri’s food pantries adds to a less-than encouraging picture of hunger in Missouri.

Feeding America, a national organization of 200 food banks, says it’s likely every Missourian knows someone who relies of food pantry partners to feed themselves and their families.  The survey says almost 1.2-million Missourians patronize the hundreds of food closets, food kitchens, and similar sources. And Missouri Food Bank Association spokesman Monica Palmer   says the need is growing.

“Sixty percent of our partner food programs have reported an increase in the volume of  clients…So we get more clients, we need more food, we need more funds…You hear things about the recession being over and the economy improving but for our most vulnerable citizens, that’s not the picture that we have.” she says.

She says the study also shatters some stereotypes about those who get food help.  It says 97 percent of those who benefit are not homeless or living in temporary housing.  Seventy percent are white. Twenty percent are black.  Three percent are Hispanic.  Almost half of the households report at least one person had a job last year.

A USDA study last year said only Arkansas had more people facing daily food uncertainty.

AUDIO: P:almer interview 10:43

President Obama bashes Congress, calls for end to cynicism (AUDIO)

President Obama has lambasted Congress as being out of touch with the average American family, and calls today’s House authorization for a lawsuit against him “a political stunt.”

The President’s half-hour speech in front of a friendly audience of about 1,500 in Kansas City defended his economic policies and the forty actions he says he has had to take through executive order because Congress has refused to act on economic policies that he says would create an economy “that works for everybody.”

Obama says the economy has turned around so well that people are seeking to invest in the United States, not China, “and our lead is growing.”   But he complained that the Republican-led House of Representatives has blocked every idea that helps working families.

“The folks in Washington, sometimes they’re focused on everything but your concerns,” he told the audience.  He said special interests in Washington prefer the status quo that favors their interests .  “They’re counting on you getting cynical so you don’t vote and don’t get involved ….And the more you do that, then the more power the special interests have and the more entrenched the status quo becomes,” he said.

“You can’t afford to be cynical,” he said at the end, “Cynicism didn’t put a man on the moon.  Cynicism didn’t win women the right to vote. Cynicism did not get a Civil Rights Act signed.  Cynicism has never won a war. Cynicism has never cured a disease.  Cynicism has never started a business. Cynicism has never fed a child…You don’t have time to be cynical.”

AUDIO: Obama sp;eech 34:53

President Obama to talk economy in Kansas City

The White House says President Barack Obama will visit Kansas City next week.

President Barack Obama delivers his 2013 State of the Union address.  (Courtesy; White House Media Affairs)

President Barack Obama delivers his 2013 State of the Union address. (Courtesy; White House Media Affairs)

According to the White House Media Affairs office, “On Tuesday, July 29, President Obama will travel to the Kansas City, MO area. He will remain overnight. On Wednesday, July 30 he will deliver remarks on the economy and return to Washington, D.C. More details about the President visit to the Kansas City area will be made available in the coming days.

State tallies last of the fiscal year bad news (AUDIO)

Suppose you learn at the end of the year that you not only didn’t get that little raise you were expecting but your pay was cut a little bit. However, suppose that little increase you expected was somewhere in the neighborhood of $350-500 million. And that little cut was about $80 million.

That’s the state the state of Missouri is in. The final numbers show state income dropped by a full percentage point in the last fiscal year instead of increasing by four to six percent–the legislature and the Governor couldn’t agree on which figure was right. And it turns out neither was, leading to budget vetoes and withholding actions by Governor Nixon.

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering has put most of the blame on reduced capital gains taxes. But they’re not the only culprits. She says spring sales tax revenue and income tax collections showed some impact of the bad winter. And she says the state is feeling some impact from prior tax cuts. A new corporate tax cut has kicked in.

Luebbering says there are indicators the worst is over. Increased withholding taxes mean more people are working and making more money…and a slight uptick in sales tax collections indicates Missourians are loosening the purse strings.

AUDIO: Luebbering interview 5:46