Hello, MBA readers,
The House of Representatives approved the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan on Wednesday, meaning the COVID-19 relief package now awaits the president’s signature. Included in the bill are $1,400 direct relief checks for many Americans, an extension of unemployment benefits, and a variety of other aid measures. In Jefferson City, lawmakers have addressed a pair of high-profile tax bills this week. Legislation that would add taxes to online sales by out-of-state vendors gained preliminary House approval. The bill also contains a clause that would lower income taxes. In the Senate, legislators endorsed a proposal that would increase the state gas tax by 12.5 cents over the next five years. In COVID-19 vaccine news, as the state continues to distribute doses, it will begin employing a new distribution model. The system is expected to deliver a larger share of the state’s vaccines to St. Louis and Kansas City, where health officials had raised concerns about shortages relative to other parts of the state.
St. Louis, KC regions to get larger share of Missouri vaccine supply
A new distribution model will allocate vaccines based on the number of eligible residents, rather than overall population. (Missouri Independent)
Trial on Rams departure postponed until January
A judge ruled to postpone the civil trial against Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke due to concerns that jurors won’t be willing to sit for a likely two-month trial during the pandemic. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Judge blocks Missouri River development incentives
A judge dismissed a lawsuit the city of Maryland Heights filed against St. Louis County for blocking its efforts to promote development on flood-prone land. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Nike announces $250,000 in grants for St. Louis organizations
The athletics apparel company will give the grants to four Black community organizations in the region. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Ashcroft won’t seek GOP nomination for Senate
Missouri Attorney General Jay Ashcroft was considered a potential frontrunner for the U.S. Senate seat after Sen. Roy Blunt announced he wouldn’t seek a third term. (Missouri Independent)
UniGroup acquires technology startup Handled
The Fenton-based moving and transportation company has purchased St. Louis-based Handled, which makes an app to connect users to moving help and home services. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Wells Fargo Advisors reduces regions, managers
The St. Louis-based investment advisory is downsizing amid a wider cost-cutting effort by its parent, Wells Fargo Co. (Advisor Hub)
Rx Savings Solutions adds home delivery of prescriptions
The Kansas City-area company, which makes prescription price-comparison software, has partnered with Truepill to meet higher demand for home delivery during the pandemic. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Build-A-Bear Workshop sales plummet
The stuffed teddy bear retailer reported a revenue drop of $83 million, or about 25%, and a $25 million annual loss for the 2020 fiscal year. However, a fourth-quarter profit and positive outlook drove up stock prices. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
KC’s FairWave Coffee Collective acquires two Kaldi’s locations
The sale of two coffee shops on the Country Club Plaza marks Kaldi’s departure from the Kansas City market. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Oak Park Mall Disney Store to close this month
The closure of the Kansas City-area store is part of a national downsizing that will shutter at least 60 Disney stores. (Kansas City Star)
Say that again
“I was elected to lower taxes and therefore am against this tax. To paraphrase the great Dr. Seuss: One tax, two tax, let’s not, new tax.”
That’s Rep. Brian Seitz, R-Branson, addressing an online sales tax proposal being considered by state legislators, the Columbia Missourian reports. House Bill 554, which won initial House approval Tuesday, would subject online sales by companies without a physical presence in Missouri to state sales taxes. Nestled within the bill is a clause that would lower the state’s income tax rate. Passage of the measure would cause a net loss of $72 million in tax revenue for the state, according to the bill’s fiscal notes. Missouri could lose even more in federal funding if the bill goes into effect. The recent $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package passed by Congress includes language that prohibits states from receiving funds if they make new tax cuts, to avoid federal aid being used to offset those revenue losses, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
The Missouri Senate has given preliminary approval to a proposal that would increase the state’s gas tax by 12.5 cents over five years, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Currently, the gas tax is 17 cents per gallon, which is the second lowest gas tax in the country. This proposal would increase gas taxes incrementally until they reached 29.5 cents per gallon. Legislators expect this to generate over $460 million in revenue for use on the repair of roads and bridges.
Today is a truly hopeful day for tens of millions of Americans who will benefit from the #AmericanRescuePlan. I’m proud to have supported the bill, which will provide desperately needed relief to American families and help crush #COVID19.
— Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (@repcleaver) March 10, 2021
U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, reacted on Wednesday after the House of Representatives approved the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, advancing the legislation to the president’s desk. This bill includes $1,400 relief checks for many Americans, as well as an extension of unemployment benefits. The bill will not include a minimum wage increase, which was removed during Senate negotiations. Missouri is expected to receive over $5 billion in aid for use in government, child care, restaurants, schools and increased COVID-19 vaccinations and testing.