Missouri Minute: State considers waiving taxes on stimulus checks; KC incentive reform moves forward

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With about one in eight Missourians having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the effort to develop another vaccine that could accelerate vaccination rates took a big step forward. Johnson & Johnson is making headway with a new, single-dose vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday released initial data sets that show the vaccine is 85% effective against severe forms of the illness and is safe to use. The next hurdle for the vaccine comes Friday, when an FDA advisory committee is scheduled to meet. In Jefferson City, lawmakers are considering waiving state income taxes on the $600 stimulus checks many Missourians received and any other coronavirus direct payments yet to be distributed. The move would mean Missouri missing out on more than $20 million in potential tax revenue, but lawmakers backing the bill say the state should focus on moving forward, rather than taxing one-time aid payments. In Kansas City, a plan to reduce tax incentives for developers advanced out of a City Council committee. However, the measure would be less aggressive in reducing incentives than what was originally proposed.

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State lawmakers consider waiving taxes on stimulus checks
A committee has moved to waive state income taxes on the $600 federal stimulus checks and any additional stimulus funds dispersed. Taxing those checks would result in more than $20 million in state revenue. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC advances plan to reduce tax incentives for developers
A Kansas City Council committee unanimously endorsed a proposal to limit incentives, although the reforms approved were less aggressive than what was initially proposed. (Kansas City Star)

St. Louis board approves incentives for downtown apartment
The city approved 10 years of tax abatement and bonds to facilitate a sales tax exemption for a $34 million downtown project by developer Opus Group that will include 146 apartments and commercial space. (St. Louis Business Journal)

St. Louis County approves funding for sports project
County officials voted to provide $6 million in hotel tax money to the PowerPlex sports project. The $55 million plan calls for sports venues, stores and restaurants. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Former Kansas City Star building listed for sale or lease
Kessinger/Hunter has posted the listing for the 344,000-square-foot downtown building, which the newspaper staff plans to vacate by the end of the year. (Kansas City Business Journal)

KC-area company’s COVID-19 test available at Walgreens
Clinical Reference Laboratory developed the at-home saliva test, which is now available through Walgreens’ online portal. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Sky Zone to shutter
The indoor trampoline park in Chesterfield announced that it is permanently closing after 13 years. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Go figure


In 2019, about 42% of requests for service to Missouri domestic violence shelters went unmet because of a lack of resources. Lawmakers are considering increasing the tax credits for donations above $100 to approved shelters from 50% to 70%, in an effort to incentivize people to donate more money, the Missouri Independent reports. Sen. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, is working with the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence to fine-tune the bill. The bill would also expand what types of shelters are covered under the tax credit, adding shelters for survivors of sexual assault.

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Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious diseases physician, summarized Food and Drug Administration data on Johnson & Johnson’s new COVID-19 vaccine. He said the data show the vaccine, which is administered in a single dose, can be stored at much more reasonable temperatures and can help low- to middle-income countries with mass vaccination. The third vaccine to enter the mix in the U.S., Johnson & Johnson’s version was found to be 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID-19 and 85% effective against the most severe forms of the virus, the Associated Press reports. An FDA advisory committee is scheduled to meet Friday to determine whether to recommend the vaccine for emergency-use authorization. In Missouri, about 12% of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a state dashboard. More than 150,000 doses have been administered in Missouri over the last seven days, despite national delays due to weather.

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The Conference Interpreting App

Chesterfield-based AAA Translation has developed an app that makes large-scale, global conferences more accessible to multiple languages. Typically, global conferences rely on many interpreters to translate the events, St. Louis Public Radio reports, but AAA’s app has given virtual attendants live interpretations for more than 200 events so far. The company worked with Florida-based ProLingo, which has more expertise in the technology side of translation equipment.


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