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  • Writer's pictureAIM Team

Electricity equipment exemption, regulatory pause for new ideas and tax clarity on streaming among bills passed on final day of the 2024 Legislative Session

By Ray McCarty, president/CEO, Associated Industries of Missouri

May 17, 2024 - Today is the final day of the 2024 Legislative Session. Although the Missouri Senate was completely paralyzed by a few senators up to and including the final day, the Missouri House again rose to the occasion and passed several bills Associated Industries of Missouri advocated for on behalf of Missouri employers.

One of those bills, SS#2 SB 872, includes a provision that will lower the costs of providing electricity to end users. The bill will clarify the sales/use tax exemption of items such as poles, wires and transformers, used to provide electricity service to all consumers. Such items are exempt after a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision and legislative affirmation of similar previous decisions regarding telecommunications services.

"We passed this exemption clarification in 2014 but Former Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the bill because it was part of a larger bill that contained multiple issues, and we have tried ever since to pass this language," said Ray McCarty, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri. "We want to thank advocates from both parties that spoke in favor of the bill, leading to a unanimous vote today in the Missouri House."

The bill will lower the cost of providing electricity and savings will be reflected in rates paid by all electricity consumers.

The bill also contains a clarification that local video franchise fees do not apply to streaming services, a provision that is also contained in HB 2057 that was passed May 7, 2024.

Also passed today was SS SCS SBs 894 & 825, a bill that provides a "regulatory sandbox" for new ideas that would allow state agencies to temporarily waive regulations as new ideas are tested in the "proof of concept" stage. The bill allows veto power to state agencies, providing the necessary guardrails to prevent unfair competition with existing businesses. The "Right-To-Start Act" is also included in this bill. That Act requires a report from the Office of Administration regarding state contracts with businesses that have been in business less than three years. The bill sets up an Office of Entrepreneurship in the Department of Economic Development to support the growth of entrepreneurship of Missouri-based businesses with less than ten employees, including entrepreneurship within racial minority groups, and women and veteran entrepreneurship. Finally, the bill repeals language relating to the now-defunct Small Business Regulatory Fairness Board.

On the final day, the House also approved SB 1388 that provides a sales/use tax exemption for all sales and purchases of tangible personal property, building materials, equipment, fixtures, manufactured goods, machinery, and parts for the purposes of constructing all or any portion of a nuclear security enterprise located in Kansas City. The bill will simplify the purchase of materials for that facility.

Earlier this session, AIM succeeded in passing key transportation funding for rural routes, ports, I-44 and I-70 through our participation in the MFTI coalition (see article here); increases in the amount and flexibility of funding available through the MOBUCK$ linked deposit loan program providing lower interest loans to small Missouri businesses (see article here); and a very important fix for pass-through entities to allow them to take advantage of income tax changes we made previously (read more here).

Senate Bill 802 was also passed providing incentives for contributions to funds that would invest in businesses in rural areas.

In addition to passing these issues, Associated Industries of Missouri was successful in blocking many pieces of legislation that would have increased costs for Missouri employers. More on those victories later.

Unfortunately, the prediction I made on the first day of session (read here) that the Missouri Senate would be derailed by a small group of senators claiming to be more conservative than their peers was proven true. The Missouri Senate barely functioned the entire session. More on that later as well.

The 2024 Legislative Session concluded at 2:53 p.m. today.



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