Missouri Minute: Legislature begins 2021 session; state officials mull new relief spending

Hello, MBA readers,

Missouri lawmakers convene on Wednesday for the start of their annual legislative session, during which they are expected to address issues including infrastructure spending, Medicaid expansion and medical marijuana. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the business of running the state hang over all those plans. Because the 2020 session was disrupted by COVID-19, this year’s legislative agenda features some items lawmakers did not get to last year. However, legislators are bracing for the possibility that the pandemic could once again upend their plans. As the Missouri Legislature commences its annual session, state officials are sizing up what the latest federal pandemic relief will mean to Missouri. The state will now receive additional funding to combat the virus, as well as more time to use funds remaining from the first big federal stimulus package.


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Latest federal aid package to give Missouri more time, money
The $900 billion COVID-19 relief package will funnel funds to various state agencies in Missouri and give the state government more time to spend the roughly $670 million of carryover funds from the first round of stimulus funding. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Missouri lawmakers begin 2021 session 
The Missouri Legislature kicks off its 101st General Assembly on Wednesday. Lawmakers are expected to address bills dealing with the state budget, Medicaid expansion, the gas tax, education reform and medical marijuana. (Missouri Independent)

Two-fifths of Missouri’s COVID-19 deaths reported in last two months
A state dashboard shows that nearly 2,400 of the more than 5,800 COVID-19 deaths in Missouri were reported in November and December. (Associated Press)

Garmin acquires emergency monitoring firm
The Lenexa, Kansas-based wearable and navigation technology company has acquired GEOS Worldwide, a Houston-based company that provides emergency monitoring and incident response services. Terms were not disclosed. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Investment firm drops bid to privatize Huttig Building Products
Mill Road Capital said it has withdrawn a $107.6 million proposal to acquire all the shares of the St. Louis-area construction materials distributor. Mill Road had asserted that Huttig is better off with private ownership than as a small public company. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Tiffany & Co. to shutter Kansas City store
The luxury jewelry retailer will close its location on the Country Club Plaza as nearly two dozen spaces in the high-end shopping district sit empty. Another jeweler, Helzberg Diamonds, plans to close its Plaza store at the end of this month. (Kansas City Star)

Twain Financial Partners expands with New York office 
The St. Louis-based investment management company has opened its first office in the New York metro area. Twain now has six locations after adding four in 2019. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Armstrong Teasdale to open Delaware office
In its seventh expansion since 2018, the St. Louis-based law firm is adding a location in Wilmington, Delaware, citing the “volume of filings in Delaware courts.” (St. Louis Business Journal)

Paul Mueller Co. calls off subsidiary sale
The Springfield-based stainless steel manufacturer had agreed to sell Mueller Field Operations to the subsidiary’s management team in a deal tentatively valued at $6.6 million. Less than a month after signing a letter of intent, the parties terminated the deal. (Springfield Business Journal)

IBM to provide Harris-Stowe $2 million in tech resources 
The state university will receive access to artificial intelligence and cloud technology as part of a $100 million nationwide initiative by IBM to support historically black colleges and universities. (St. Louis Business Journal)


Say that again

“It’s just kind of a slap in the face to get $600. It’s just, like almost nothing.”

That’s Katie Brown, who has worked as a server at St. Louis restaurants, commenting on the impact that a new $600 stimulus check from the federal government will have on her, St. Louis Public Radio reports. The pizzeria where Brown worked closed early in the pandemic, and she and other employees in the service industry have struggled to make ends meet over the last several months. Between business closures and the recently lifted indoor dining ban in St. Louis County, many restaurant employees have burned through any savings they had and are now living paycheck to paycheck. Many say the direct payments from the $900 billion stimulus package passed last month are not large enough to improve their financial situations.


Go figure

25.1%

Kansas City’s earnings tax generates about 25.1% of the city’s general municipal revenue — or a projected $292.3 million for the current fiscal year, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The 1% tax is the city’s largest revenue source. However, with the rise of remote work over the past year, Kansas City expects to give tax refunds to some employees who worked from their homes outside of the city. Estimates suggest those refunds could amount to tens of millions of dollars for a city expecting a $60 million budget shortfall next year. As many companies look to offer employees increased flexibility with remote work, the earnings tax that has been vital to the city’s finances for decades may be diminished in the future.


Hello, my name is

Ai Connect

That is the name of an app launched by Overland Park, Kansas-based software company Abbacore. The app is designed to help users create custom apps of their own, Startland News reports. The company touts a turnaround time of a couple weeks for app development, due to the fact that about 90% of any given app is already created. Users are charged a monthly fee for access to the platform, which shows what content has already been created by Abbacore and is ready for integration into their app.


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



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