Missouri Minute: Westar-Great Plains merger denied; Galloway subpoenas the Department of Revenue

Here are today’s top business headlines from across Missouri:

Regulators deny proposed $12.2 billion merger of Great Plains, Westar

The Kansas Corporation Commission voted on Wednesday that a proposed merger of Great Plains Energy and Westar Energy was not in the public’s best interest, imperiling what would have been a $12.2 billion combination of utilities. All three members of the commission agreed with an earlier staff recommendation against the proposed deal. Read more

Missouri auditor goes after revenue department over tax refund information

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway issued a subpoena to the Department of Revenue on Wednesday with the aim of forcing the agency to turn over information on how it manages income tax refunds. Galloway requested the information six weeks ago for an ongoing audit and said she hadn’t received anything. Read more

After arguments, Supreme Court leans toward Columbia church in religious freedom case

After arguments on Wednesday, U.S. Supreme Court justices seemed to lean in favor of a Columbia church in the case of whether a church’s preschool should be allowed to receive a state grant. Wednesday’s arguments were the culmination of a five-year battle between Trinity Lutheran Church and the state of Missouri over whether to allow the church to receive a grant to resurface its preschool’s playground, which has turned into a landmark case for religious freedom and separation between church and state. Read more

Mexican trade minister: NAFTA revisions could have huge impact on KC

Business groups from the Kansas City area want to make sure local voices are heard as the federal government considers renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce teamed up with the World Trade Center of Kansas City and Kansas City Southern on Wednesday to host Kenneth Smith Ramos, the head of Mexico’s Trade and NAFTA Office at its Ministry of the Economy, who shared his outlook on potential revisions to NAFTA. Read more

Numbers reveal challenges facing Columbia bus system

Just three years into the new CoMO Connect system, the city of Columbia is once again planning an overhaul of its bus system. Since CoMO Connect launched in 2014, the system has seen significant decreases in ridership. Compared with 2014, 16.5 percent fewer passengers rode the buses in 2015, and in 2016 the decline was 28.2 percent. Read more

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