Missouri Minute: Parson promotes online sales tax; Burns & McDonnell launching consulting business

Good morning, MBA readers,

Missouri’s lack of online sales tax is costing the state an estimated $600 million in missed revenue — and Gov. Mike Parson wants to remedy that. During a visit this week to Cape Girardeau, Parson expressed ambitions of passing a new online sales tax that lawmakers failed to pass last legislative session. Stay tuned in 2020 to see if that happens. Speaking of squandered opportunities to generate revenue, a St. Louis investor and longtime Warren Buffett admirer is speaking out about the famed financier not putting Berkshire Hathaway’s nearly $125 billion cash heap to work. Read on for those and the other big business stories of the day.

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Waddell & Reed to seek additional tax incentives for new downtown KC tower
The financial services firm, which is receiving $62 million in Missouri subsidies to move its headquarters from Kansas, has plans to occupy a new high-rise building in downtown Kansas City. The firm is seeking a 75% property tax abatement over its initial 15-year lease period. (Kansas City Star)

Burns & McDonnell to launch new consulting company
The firm, dubbed 1898 & Co. after the year Kansas City-based Burns & McDonnell was founded, will focus on clients’ business, technology and security needs. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Centene sees increased profits from Medicaid business
The Clayton-based company posted quarterly profits on Tuesday that beat Wall Street estimates. Membership in Medicaid, the company’s biggest source of business, increased by more than 60,000 last year. (Reuters)

New $26.3 million Siteman Cancer Center to open in Florissant on Nov. 4
The 37,800-square-foot facility is funded by the Washington University School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Developer plans $37 million apartment complex in Central West End
Des Peres-based Balke Brown Transwestern’s proposal for a 146-unit complex in the St. Louis neighborhood comes months after Koman Group announced plans for a 200-unit apartment just blocks away. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Springfield City Council to consider tax abatements on $50 million downtown student housing complex
Directors of the 194-unit student housing development said a 15-year tax abatement status is key to its plans. They propose a 100% abatement over the first 10 years and 50% over the next five. (Springfield Business Journal)

Springfield-based Vital Farms to add 50 new jobs
The 100-employee Egg Central Station plant, which processes all of the company’s eggs, would add 64,000 square feet of space to its 84,000-square-foot location. (Springfield Business Journal)

St. Louis grant to fund free legal services for people developing vacant properties
Residents of four high-vacancy areas in St. Louis will receive about $316,000 to assist in the development of empty properties. In 2018, almost one-fifth of all properties in the city were vacant. (St. Louis Public Radio)

EY becomes second Centene Centre tenant
EY, formerly Ernst & Young, will move its St. Louis office to the Centene Centre in Clayton in December 2020. Bank of America is the only other tenant to announce plans to move into the 700,000-square-foot center so far. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Say that again

“I believe that, regardless of where they come from, they ought to be on the same playing field.”

That’s Gov. Mike Parson, who told reporters during a recent visit to Cape Girardeau that he will discuss a new online sales tax with Missouri lawmakers in the upcoming legislative session, the Southeast Missourian reports. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year allowed states to levy sales tax on out-of-state online sellers, but Missouri lawmakers took no action to pass a new online sales tax. Parson said that online sellers should not be allowed a competitive edge over Missouri’s brick-and-mortar stores. The governor also touted his workforce development initiative, telling reporters that “not everyone needs a college degree to be successful.”

Go figure

$600 million

According to a Missouri nonprofit’s new report, that’s roughly how much online sales tax revenue Missouri misses out on every year due to its tax policies, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The report released by the Faith, Justice and Truth Project highlights Missouri as one of the few states that have “not enacted a more stringent law” to collect online sales tax from out-of-state companies. The group’s executive director Billy Honor said the state’s sales tax “becomes increasingly regressive” for rural consumers and communities of color if an aggressive online sales tax is not enacted.

Hello, my name is

David Rolfe

This St. Louis investor is sounding the alarms on billionaire Warren Buffett’s business, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Rolfe, the chief investment officer at Wedgewood Partners in Ladue, had often been quoted by the media as a Buffett admirer. However, Rolfe voiced concerns about a slowdown in parts of Buffett’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway, in a recent report to investors. He also cited concerns over the negligible yield of Buffett’s $125 billion cash pile in today’s low-interest-rate environment.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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