Stephanie Wieberg promoted to Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director of Conference Development

JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry congratulates Stephanie Wieberg on her promotion to the organization’s new director of conference development.

More than 2,000 people participate in Missouri Chamber conferences and educational programs across the state each year. In this role, Wieberg will coordinate and advertise Missouri Chamber conferences and seminars throughout the year to educate the Missouri business community about important, developing issues.

Wieberg

Wieberg has served as the assistant to the education foundation since 2014 and has recently taken on duties as the conference developer.  In her role as assistant she assisted the Vice President of Education and the director of Conference development.  The Missouri Chamber’s Education Foundation consists of several education programs for adults and children, including Leadership Missouri, Leadership in Practice, the Missouri Mathematics and Science Coalition and Show- Me Scholars programs.

Wieberg comes to the Chamber with an extensive background of administrative duties. Wieberg attended State Fair Community College. She resides in Tuscumbia with her husband Derek and children Lance, Gracie and Rhett.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.

Governor Nixon’s veto gives municipalities the power to override state laws and create a patchwork of job-killing mandates

One day after taking control away from municipal governments through a law that limits the amount of fines local communities can levy, Gov. Nixon gives local municipalities the power to override state laws governing Missouri workplaces, ironically citing the importance of local control as his reason for vetoing House Bill 722.

“Out-of-state activist groups who have been unsuccessful in eroding Missouri’s workplace laws in the Missouri Legislature have successfully applied pressure on local Missouri municipalities to take up their causes,” said Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “Missouri has seen a growing, disturbing trend of cities implementing their own employment laws.”

Proposals across the state would increase the minimum wage, mandate sick leave and make it harder for employers to perform criminal background checks during the hiring process. There are also efforts to ban plastic shopping bags.

“For Missouri employers, this is a troubling situation,” Mehan said. “Regardless of the intentions behind these efforts, they threaten to create an increasingly complex patchwork of rules and regulations, making it more difficult to do business in Missouri. Having minimum wage levels set at the whim of nearly 1,000 different municipalities is not good policy.”

House Bill 722, sponsored by Rep. Dan Shaul, a Republican from Imperial, would have stopped cities from increasing the minimum wage, mandating a certain amount to sick leave and banning plastic or reusable shopping bags.

“This is a major issue for Missouri’s business community. We need consistent workplace standards in our state,” Mehan said.  “In a recent Gallup survey of 1,000 Missouri CEOs, we found that inconsistency in Missouri laws was holding back growth. Providing predictability in Missouri’s employment laws is part of the Missouri Chamber’s 15-year strategic plan, Missouri 2030.”

The Missouri Chamber believes that certain issues, like workplace mandates, should be determined by the Missouri Legislature, a body designed to set laws based on statewide impact. The Missouri Chamber urges lawmakers to revisit this issue in the upcoming Veto Session.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.

Missouri Breastfeeding Month: Breastfeeding and Work “Let’s Make it Work”

August 1-7 is designated each year as World Breastfeeding Week by the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) and the entire month of August is designated Missouri Breastfeeding Month. The theme for this year is “Breastfeeding and Work: Let’s Make it Work!” which showcases, facilitates and strengthens supportive practices that enable working women to continue to breastfeed.

Over 70% of Missouri mothers choose breastfeeding as the optimal form of infant feeding.  When a mother returns to work following childbirth, she wants to be a productive employee and a good mother. Yet many of these mothers are concerned that returning to work will be an obstacle to their success.

Employers who provide lactation support for their employees reap benefits that impact the business’s bottom line.

  • Cost Savings – $3 to $1 return on investment for worksite lactation programs
  • Reduced Absenteeism – infants and mothers have less illness when breastfeeding continues
  • Lower Health Care Costs – fewer doctor visits, hospital stays and prescriptions decreases health care costs
  • Improved Employee Productivity and Retention – creates higher morale and greater employee loyalty
  • Family Friendly Image – gives a competitive edge in recruiting and builds goodwill in the community

Providing a Lactation Support Program involves little investment of time and resources. The needs of breastfeeding employees are simple and a lactation support program can be implemented inexpensively.

These three simple components can make the difference for breastfeeding employees:

  1. A private place to express milk that is not a bathroom
  2. A flexible work schedule that allows time for expressing milk
  3. Supportive supervisors and staffIn 2010, the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) was enacted as part of the Affordable Care Act. The FLSA requires employers to provide reasonable unpaid break time and a private place for breastfeeding mothers to express milk while at work. For information on the “Break Time Requirement for Nursing Mothers” requirement under the FLSA go to www.dol.gov/whd/nursingmothers.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS), in collaboration with the Missouri Breastfeeding Coalition, has implemented the Missouri “Breastfeeding Friendly Worksite Program” to educate employers on the value of providing lactation support in the workplace and to recognize businesses that support their breastfeeding employees. Recognition is provided at three different levels: bronze, silver and gold.

Mothers going back to work also need support from their child care provider. The MDHSS and Missouri Breastfeeding Coalition also recognize child care providers in Missouri that provide support to their breastfeeding families and employees through the “Breastfeeding Friendly Child Care” award. To receive the award, child care providers must meet five criteria that aim to improve the support for breastfeeding women in the workforce.

For more information on how to support your breastfeeding employees or on Missouri breastfeeding initiatives go to health.mo.gov/living/families/wic/breastfeeding/index.php or contact your local health department.

Transparent tax rules — Important reform bills signed into law

A new law will finally end a troubling practice in Missouri where the state’s tax collectors were changing the sales tax rules without telling anyone.

In recent years, the Missouri Department of Revenue has begun requiring additional businesses, such as dance and gymnastics studios, to collect sales tax for their services. The problem is the department didn’t inform the impacted businesses about the changes. Then, the department penalized businesses for not following the rules they didn’t tell anyone about.

With the signing of Senate Bill 18, a bill sought by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Department of Revenue will have to notify businesses when they change sales tax rules.

“Over the last two years, we’ve heard a number of firsthand accounts from businesses that were contemplating shutting down after they were targeted for violations of new sales tax policies that were never publicized,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “With this new law, we are seeking transparency from the Missouri Department of Revenue. When the state educates businesses about tax law changes, we are going to see far fewer of these troubling instances where companies are forced to close due to unintentional violations.”

Along with Senate Bill 18, the governor also signed House Bills 517 & 754, a tax reform package that encourages faster income tax returns, creates a new sales tax exemption for aircraft sold outside the state and stops the revenue department from targeting restaurants when their employees falsely report their tipped income.

In addition, the new law makes it legal in Missouri for businesses to advertise that they are absorbing the sales tax in an advertised price. The Missouri Chamber had been advocating for this change, as absorbing the sales tax is already a widespread practice, putting many businesses at risk.

“This law simply protects Missouri businesses from being targeted over the harmless practice of offering to pick up the sales tax tab,” said Mehan.

Senate Bill 18 was sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee’s Summit. The House Bills 517 and 754 package was sponsored by Rep. Galen Higdon, a Republican from St. Joseph.

###

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the largest business association in Missouri. Together, with the Missouri Chamber Federation, the Missouri Chamber represents more than 40,000 employers.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce seeks fastest growing Missouri companies to honor with its 2015 Fast Track Award

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is calling for nominations for its 2015 Fast Track Awards, a program designed to recognize Missouri’s fastest growing companies. The Missouri Chamber Fast Track Awards are selected based on the company’s revenue growth over the last four years. Past Missouri Chamber Fast Track award winners represent an impressive list of companies from all across the state. Companies that have earned these awards have come from a diverse range of industries, yet all have a common thread – the ability to see market opportunities and inspire their workforce to achieve them. Click here to see a list of past award winners.

Nominations can be submitted online by going to www.mochamber.com and clicking on “Membership” and then clicking on the “Fast Track Award Application.”  The application deadline is Aug. 15, 2015.

Award winners will be recognized at the 2015 Missouri Chamber Annual Meeting and Awards Banquet. Award winners will also be featured in the Missouri Business Magazine. If you have any questions about the awards, you can contact Katie Rose Hargreaves West, Missouri Chamber director of member outreach, at khargreaveswest@mochamber.com, or by phone at 573-634-3511.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the largest business association in Missouri. Together, with the Missouri Chamber Federation, the Missouri Chamber represents more than 40,000 employers.

Tip tax fix — New law stops revenue department overreach

 Should Missouri businesses be held accountable when their employees falsely report their personal income tax? A recent practice by the Missouri Department of Revenue was doing just that—forcing restaurants and other businesses to make up for lost state revenue when their employees didn’t properly report their tipped income.

But a bill signed into law finally ends this unfair overreach. Earlier this year, it came to light that the revenue department had started reviewing restaurant tip records. The department was calculating the tip percentage on credit card receipts and comparing that to the cash tips employees were reporting as income. When the percentages showed a discrepancy, the department went after restaurants to make up the difference.

Senate Bill 336 clarifies Missouri’s tax statutes on this matter, ensuring that only employees are accountable for their personal income tax liabilities.

“In this instance, the revenue department’s actions were as nonsensical and as hostile to small business as we’ve seen in a long time. Missouri business leaders understand the importance of paying taxes and contributing to state revenue, but it’s way over the line to expect businesses to pay their employees’ personal tax bills,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “On behalf of the state’s business community, I’d like to thank the General Assembly for making this a priority and for passing this bill with broad bi-partisan support.”

Senate Bill 336 was sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee’s Summit.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) is the largest business association in Missouri. Together, with the Missouri Chamber Federation, the Missouri Chamber represents more than 40,000 employers.

New laws target important business growth efforts

 Two newly signed bills will help create and retain thousands of jobs in Missouri.

Senate Bill 194 extends a special tax credit intended to attract corporate headquarters to Missouri and help the state’s existing headquarters expand within Missouri. Under the bill, this tax credit will now continue until 2025. All companies that expand their headquarters in Missouri or move operations here will benefit from this bill. One known project that will benefit is Burns & McDonnell’s planned long-term expansion of their Kansas City headquarters, creating as many as 2,100 new jobs in Missouri.

House Bill 514 will help redevelop a former automotive manufacturing plant in the St. Louis region, an important regional economic development effort. The bill also enhances the city’s efforts to keep the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency as the agency considers a possible relocation with thousands of jobs at stake.

“When we look across Missouri, there are certain major job creation opportunities that require a proactive, coordinated approach by local and state officials. These two new laws illustrate that our General Assembly is listening to our local communities and remains ready to help whenever possible,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “In the coming years, these bills will help attract and retain thousands of jobs in Missouri. This is the kind of progress we need as we work toward the goals outlined in our state’s long-range economic strategy, Missouri 2030: An Agenda to Lead.”

The two new laws mark another success for the 2015 General Assembly, which also passed Senate Bill 149 into law, helping entice data center investment to Missouri.

Senate Bill 194 was sponsored by Sen. Ron Richard, a Republican from Joplin. House Bill 514 was sponsored by Rep. Mike Leara, a Republican from St. Louis.

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) is the largest business association in Missouri. Together, with the Missouri Chamber Federation, the Missouri Chamber represents more than 40,000 employers.