Presidential overtime order places new burden on recovering economy

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is closely watching an executive order signed Thursday that could increase labor costs for businesses across Missouri.

Pres. Barack Obama has ordered the U.S. Department of Labor to change the nation’s regulations regarding paid overtime for salaried workers. Right now, businesses must pay salaried workers overtime if they earn less than $455 each week. Pres. Obama has directed labor officials to investigate raising the pay cut off to allow more salaried workers to receive overtime.

During a time of slow economic growth following a national recession, the Missouri Chamber is concerned that this order could actually work against our recovering economy.

“This is another disappointing, anti-jobs move by the president,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “Placing additional, costly mandates on business is not how you encourage growth following a recession. Furthermore, using executive powers to bypass the public process of congressional hearings and approval illustrates a failure of leadership.”

As the potential impacts of this executive order are studied the Missouri Chamber will continue to keep our members informed.

Click here to access the President’s memo.

Click here to access a fact sheet on the President’s memo.

Click here to access the President’s Remarks on Increasing Overtime Pay.

Federal budget proposal taps employers for $74.1 billion unemployment tax increase

In his proposed budget for fiscal year 2015, Pres. Barack Obama looks to employers for an additional $74.1 billion over 10 years for the unemployment insurance system.

Pres. Obama’s proposal would bring back the .2 percent surtax and make it permanent. In addition, it would make changes to the FUTA wage base, create an index allowing the wage base to grow and change the federal unemployment insurance tax.

The changes are contained in the administrations’ budget (http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/tax-policy/Documents/General-Explanations-FY2015.pdf).

As the nation’s economy attempts to recover from the recession, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry opposes efforts to increase taxes on employers.

The Missouri Chamber will continue to watch this proposal as Congress begins its work on the 2015 budget.

Likewise, the chamber is continuing to engage in the discussion to reform Missouri’s unemployment system. Senate Bill 673, sponsored by Sen. Mike Kehoe, R- Jefferson City, would tie the number of weeks jobless Missourians can receive unemployment benefits to the unemployment insurance rate (https://mochamber.wordpress.com/tag/unemployment-benefits/).

In February, Sen. Kehoe’s bill as well as Senate Bill 510, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, was passed out of the Senate Committee on Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight. Both pieces of legislation await debate on the Senate floor. The Missouri Chamber was vital in crafting both pieces of legislation and has been the lead proponent of unemployment insurance reform.

For more information on unemployment insurance, contact Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs, at tking@mochamber.com, or by phone at 573-634-3511.