July 24, 2014

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

 

Nixon approves truce with Kansas (AUDIO)

The state of Missouri is telling Kansas it’s ready to end the economic development border war.   Kansas has not agreed, yet, though.

Governor Nixon has signed Senator Ryan Silvey’s bill saying Missouri and Kansas will set up an eight-county district in the Kansas City area where neither state will offer tax incentives for a company to cross the state line.

Silvey says studies show no new jobs have been created; they’ve just been shuffled around.

                                  AUDIO: Silvey :23

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback can agree to the truce with an executive order. He has not said publicly if he’ll issue one.

House votes to complete overturn of veto, tax cut bill set to become law

The state House has voted to overturn Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax bill, SB 509. After the Senate voted earlier Monday 28-3 to overturn Nixon’s veto, House Republicans led a 109-46 vote to complete the overturn.

All 108 Republicans in the House were joined by one Democrat, Representative Keith English (D-Florrisant), who walked into the chamber long enough to cast his vote and then immediately left again. He was not present for votes on Monday or prior to the override vote on Tuesday.

The proposal would reduce the top personal income tax rate of from 6-percent to 5.5-percent over 10 years starting in 2017 if state general revenue growth continues. The bill would also phase in a 25-percent deduction for business income reported on personal tax returns. State revenues would have to keep rising by at least $150-million over their highest point in the previous three years.

The legislature’s fiscal note on the cut says it would reduce state revenue by $620-million annually. Republicans say because the cuts are triggered by increases in revenue, that loss would be offset before any state services and programs have to be cut.

Nixon has argued that the wording of the bill could also result in the elimination of taxes on all income beyond $9,000 annually, resulting in a cut of $4.8-billion dollars annually to state revenue. Republicans legislative leaders have dismissed those concerns as “laughable” and an attempt at distraction.

Cost of shared hours bill studied

 

An effort in the legislature to keep people from becoming unemployed draws concerns that it might keep people from being fully EMployed.

The proposed broadening of the Shared Work law would give employers more flexibility to reduce  hours for their employees by as much as sixty percent instead of laying them off.   It’s intended to deal with businesses suffering because of poor economies.

The state would have to approve the plan and it would not be approved unless employee fringe benefits remain in place.   

But some Senators, such as John Lamping of St. Louis,  worry the proposal could hurt worker such as the hourly employee on assembly lines “who’s working really super hard and needs to work the 40-hour week to support their family and with this program going into place…they’re’ going to be forced to lose hours.” 

And he worries the legislation will change employment standards. “Maybe there will be more jobs but there will be a lot less hours,” he says.

But supporters say working Missourians given a choice of working fewer hours or not working at all will readily choose fewer hours.

A study of the costs of the program has delayed final senate action.