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Over the last 15 years, Associated Industries of Missouri has improved your bottom line

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


August 8, 2023 - Time flies when you're having fun, and that has been especially true for me as today I celebrate serving as the president of Associated Industries of Missouri (AIM) for the last 15 years.


This picture was taken when I first started serving in this role after being the tax lobbyist for AIM on a contract basis for several years prior. Much more hair and fewer wrinkles, but the person in this picture had no idea what we would accomplish together. When we take a look back at our efforts to improve the business environment for you and other business leaders, we have achieved remarkable success.


We cut taxes by all Missouri businesses by around 40% by reducing the top income tax rate and establishing a business income deduction for sole proprietorships, partnerships, S corporations, and other pass-through businesses. We also reduced corporation income tax rates and changed apportionment formulas (how much income is taxed in Missouri) and phased-out and eventually eliminated the Corporation Franchise Tax. We also eliminated the need for small businesses to file frequent withholding tax returns by increasing the filing frequency thresholds.


We lobbied for and passed the manufacturing inputs sales and use tax exemption. Before that bill passed, only electricity used in the manufacturing process was exempt from sales/use taxes, and only if electricity costs exceeded 10% of total operating costs . Manufacturers using gas, water, and other utilities were taxed on those purchases. Only machinery and equipment directly used to produce products were exempted from sales and use taxes, and the state taxing authority restricted what qualified as "direct use." The exemptions were ineffective and resulted in double taxation: taxation of both inputs as well as the finished products. We passed a law that exempts from sales and use taxes all inputs used in manufacturing, processing, producing, mining, or compounding ANY product. We continue to work to be sure our taxing authority provides this exemption to your businesses.


We wrote the first Quality Jobs Act (which later became the Missouri Works program), provided incentives that not only saved thousands of auto manufacturing jobs, but led to the hiring of thousands more. We reinstated a research and development tax credit. And AIM helped start the "Buy Missouri" program that promotes Missouri-made goods - a program that continues today under Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe.


In the legal reform area, we have achieved fairer treatment in the courts by reigning in punitive damage awards, aligning our Missouri discrimination standards with federal standards, eliminating lawsuits against supervisors (that opened up a new way to sue your businesses), reducing venue shopping, aligning Missouri's standard for expert witnesses with federal standards, and so much more! The legal environment is much improved from where it was 15 years ago.


In the environmental area, we ensured Missouri's environmental agency was not stricter than the EPA. We passed a law that prevents the use of administrative memos and guidance documents against your businesses.


And we lobbied for additional resources for safer and less congested roads, including a bill passed this year that provides funding for expansion of Interstate 70 to six lanes from border to border, $100 million for rural roads, and advance work on other interstates. We also supported a massive bridge bonding program that improved numerous Missouri bridges that were previously unsafe.


The list of accomplishments is very long (click HERE for a more complete list). None of this would have been possible without the support of businesses like yours, so THANK YOU!!! We are using your resources to accomplish great things for you in the Missouri Capitol and as you deal with administrative agencies.


Thank you for your support as we have accomplished so much over the last 15 years. We hope you will continue to support our efforts for decades to come. If you know of a business that should be helping support us, please send me a note at rmccarty@aimo.com - we appreciate your referrals very much.


If you need assistance with a legislative issue, have a question, or need help with a state agency, send us an email or call us at (573) 634-2246 and we will be happy to help you in any way.

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