Missouri Minute: St. Louis seeks tax credits for MLS stadium; KC gets interim city manager

Good morning, MBA readers,

It was another bountiful Cyber Monday, with estimates of online sales for the day exceeding $9 billion. But due to its tax laws, Missouri won’t see the same revenue boost as most other states from all that holiday shopping. That’s because Missouri is one of just two states to have a sales tax but lack laws requiring online sellers to collect sales tax. Missouri is also one of 12 states that do not require platforms like Amazon to collect sales tax on behalf of their sellers.

What’s Missouri missing out on as a result? One state estimate suggested taxing online retail could boost Missouri’s revenue by at least $93 million in 2020. Some elected officials and advocacy groups have been looking to change the state’s laws, but bills that would have required online retailers to collect sales tax fizzled during the 2019 legislative session.

Coincidentally, in addition to the start of peak holiday shopping season, the past few days also marked the start of pre-filing of bills for Missouri’s 2020 legislative session. Lawmakers already have pre-filed more than 500 bills. Whether plans to collect online sales tax will resurface this year remains to be seen.

Scroll down for more about Cyber Monday shopping and the rest of the day’s business news.

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Creighton survey suggests slowing economy across Midwest
Missouri’s economic index sank below growth neutral to 48.4 in November from 53.6 in October, per a monthly survey of business leaders by the Creighton Economic Forecasting Group. The report notes significant manufacturing job losses in the state and growth among metal producers and computer and component makers. The overall index for the nine-state region slipped to 48.6 from 52.6. (Associated Press)

UAW moves to bolster financial controls amid embezzlement scandal
The United Auto Workers union has replaced its auditing firm with the Calibre CPA Group, which specializes in labor union accounting, the union announced Monday. The move comes after President Gary Jones resigned last month amid a federal embezzlement probe. The UAW has also added four internal auditors and hired the accounting firm Deloitte to check the union’s accounting and financial processes. (Associated Press)

KC mayor names interim city manager
Assistant City Manager Earnest Rouse has been named acting city manager effective immediately, as predecessor Troy Schulte prepares for his new job as Jackson County administrator. The city plans a national search for a permanent replacement for Schulte. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis seeks state tax credits for $461 million soccer stadium
The city of St. Louis has applied for $30 million in state tax credits toward construction of a Major League Soccer stadium near downtown. Construction of the stadium will cost $461 million and will start in January, with the first stadium event in March 2022, according to documents submitted by the city. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC economic agency names second interim leader in five months
T’Risa McCord, senior vice president and chief administrative officer at the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City, will serve as interim CEO of the agency. McCord, who has been with the EDC since 2013, replaces Greg Flisram, who was appointed interim CEO when Bob Langenkamp stepped down in July. (Kansas City Business Journal)

St. Louis County weighs subsidies for HVAC supplier
The St. Louis County Council will consider a bill Tuesday that would grant $4.4 million in Chapter 100 bonds for Portland, Oregon-based Johnstone Supply to build a new 44,000-square-foot regional headquarters in Earth City. Johnstone would also get a sales tax exemption on construction materials. Local lawmakers say the project is estimated to generate $1.2 million for the affected taxing jurisdictions. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC manufacturer sells for $48 million
Torotel, a custom electronic manufacturer in Olathe, Kansas, has sold to New Hampshire-based Standex International for $48 million in cash and about $1.4 million in assumed debt. The price tag on Torotel marks a 432% premium over Monday’s closing price of $1.46. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“Part of the problem in St. Louis is there has been no growth here for 30 years. Increased density creates an increase in value across industrial, office and retail, and that’s what attracts capital.”

That’s Bob Clark, founder and chairman of Clayco, on the lack of growth in the St. Louis construction sector, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. On Monday, Clark joined a panel of top construction executives at an event hosted by the Construction Forum St. Louis. Panelists concurred that St. Louis has plenty of experienced construction workers and subcontractors. What it lacks, they said, is the kind of population growth that spurs new apartments, offices and commercial space. Alberici Constructors President Greg Hesser added that it is “extremely difficult” to recruit construction talent in St. Louis. The executives also said that, compared to cities like Chicago, St. Louis has made strides toward a more diverse construction workforce, noting efforts to boost minority-owned subcontractors.

Go figure


That’s how much in-store pickups have grown this year, as Cyber Monday looks to dominate the holiday shopping season, the Associated Press reports. Adobe Analytics, which tracks 80 of the top 100 U.S. online stores, said the option has breathed “new life into physical stores.” Overall, Adobe projected shoppers would spend a record $9.4 billion on online purchases this Cyber Monday, up 19% from last year. On average, retailers offered up to 30% off on Monday, the steepest discount of the year, according to Salesforce.

Hello, my name is

Prosperity Connection

This financial services nonprofit has launched a new credit counseling program in St. Louis that targets some of the city’s most densely populated neighborhoods, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Backed by credit-rating agency Equifax, Prosperity Connection aims to boost credit scores of residents in northeast Dutchtown, Gravois Park and Benton Park West, and has already hired new staff to oversee the local effort. Though credit counseling is not a new idea, Prosperity Connection’s neighborhood approach is a relatively new one. Officials are hopeful that the program will help empower residents of a neighborhood where nearly 40% of households live in poverty.

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


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