Hello, MBA readers,
Missouri is one step closer to taxing online sales by out-of-state vendors. In the waning hours of the Missouri General Assembly’s session on Friday, legislators sent a measure to Gov. Mike Parson that would enable the state to tax those internet sales. Currently, Missouri is the only state in the country without such a tax. Also in the final day of the legislative session, lawmakers approved a bill shielding businesses from most liability related to COVID-19. The measure was a priority of Parson and prominent business lobbies in the state. However, lawmakers were unable to reach agreement over taxes that help fund Missouri’s Medicaid program. They will have to return to Jefferson City for a special session to sort out the issue. Elsewhere, as the puck drops on the Stanley Cup playoffs and St. Louis relaxes its pandemic restrictions, the St. Louis Blues are expanding capacity at their home arena. The Blues will welcome 9,000 fans for their postseason games, which begin this week.
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Speaking Startup: Without branches, neobanks take root
Neobanks are a type of financial technology aimed at making banking faster, cheaper and easier. They have grown significantly, especially alongside racial protests over the last year highlighting financial inequities, which have been exacerbated partly by lack of access to banking. The latest episode of the Speaking Startup podcast looks at upstart neobanks, the problems they are trying to address and the challenges they face.
St. Louis, Kansas City align with CDC mask recommendations
The city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and Kansas City lifted their mask and social distancing requirements Friday in response to new federal guidance. (St. Louis Business Journal, KCTV)
Missouri Legislature passes COVID liability bill
Lawmakers approved a bill shielding businesses from most COVID-19 liability lawsuits. The bill now heads to Gov. Mike Parson, who had declared the issue a top priority. (Missouri Independent)
General Assembly fails to renew Medicaid tax, faces special session
Legislators will have to return to Jefferson City to address Medicaid funding after failing to pass a tax that last year accounted for about $2.3 billion of the state’s $10.8 billion Medicaid budget. (Missouri Independent)
State lawmakers OK online sales tax
The bill now awaiting the governor’s signature would require tax to be charged for online sales by out-of-state vendors. Missouri is the only state without such a tax. (Missouri Independent)
TTEC Holdings to hire 450 in Kansas City area
The Colorado-based customer service outsourcing firm is expanding operations in the Kansas City area, adding sales and customer service positions. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Paddio to ramp up Springfield hiring
The mortgage lender plans to hire more than 100 additional employees in Springfield, bringing its total headcount to 200. (Springfield Business Journal)
Schnucks joins retailers lifting mask requirements
The St. Louis-based grocery chain is among the retailers no longer requiring customers to wear masks, joining national chains including Walmart and Costco. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
St. Louis-area urgent care chain to expand
Total Access Urgent Care is looking to expand beyond the St. Louis region, where it has 27 locations. The company plans to add locations in the Kansas City area and Illinois. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Mayor endorses effort to boost St. Louis neighborhoods
Mayor Tishaura Jones voiced support for a new, nonprofit-led plan aiming to revive the Vandeventer and Covenant Blu-Grand Center neighborhoods. Both are predominantly Black neighborhoods in the city’s core that have lagged nearby areas in investment. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Columbia Hy-Vee stores look to add employees
Managers of all three Columbia locations of the supermarket chain attempted to recruit employees at a weekend event. The stores, like many businesses around the country, are experiencing a shortage of workers. (KOMU)
Say that again
“I can’t afford to go work at a restaurant. I don’t have the background, and I can’t live on it.”
That’s Cindy Walker, who has been looking for work since last August, when she lost her sales job at a St. Louis-area lighting company, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Walker, 57, said she has been “applying like crazy” for new jobs and using expanded unemployment benefits to help make ends meet in the meantime. However, those benefits will run out next month. Gov. Mike Parson announced last week that Missouri will stop offering a federal pandemic unemployment supplement on June 12. He noted that there are more jobs available in the state than there are unemployed workers. However, some workers, like Walker, worry that the available jobs are a poor fit for their skills, or that the positions don’t pay enough to help workers meet basic needs.
A Columbia Missourian analysis of administrator pay across all academic units and the central administration at the University of Missouri shows women’s salaries average 25% less than men’s. It is the first look at MU salary equity since a 2015 study found a 15% pay gap between men and women. The recent analysis shows that the female mean salary is nearly $162,000, or more than $53,000 lower than the male mean of about $215,000. A spokesperson said the university has taken several steps toward pay equity since the 2015 study, such as switching to amount-based automatic raises, rather than percentage-based raises, and reviewing individual workloads across faculty that share titles.
— x – St. Louis Blues (@StLouisBlues) May 14, 2021
The St. Louis Blues will increase their crowd size to 9,000 fans, or 50% of capacity of the Enterprise Center, in time for the playoffs, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The Blues will still require fans to wear masks inside the arena, and the organization will continue to follow guidance from city, state and NHL. The team’s first-round playoff series begins Monday against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. The teams will play Game 3 on Friday in St. Louis.
Hello, my name is
The e-commerce company’s air delivery program has started daily service to Kansas City International Airport in an effort to expedite package delivery, The Kansas City Star reports. Amazon Air helps the online retailer ship items quickly across longer distances. It has leased 34,000 square feet of space at KCI. The move is expected to create more than 50 jobs.