House Bill 45
HB 45 came to the House Floor for debate and was perfected on Wednesday, January 19th. HB 45, known as the “Big Government Get Off My Back Act”, provides incentives and rewards for Missouri employers who expand to provide new, full-time jobs for Missourians. The Legislation provides additional incentives for responsible businesses that provide health benefits to those new, full-time employees. In particular, a $10,000 tax incentive each new full-time job created or a $20,000 incentive for each new full-time job created when the business offers health insurance and pays at least 50% of the premiums of all full-time employees. The bill also seeks to limit and reduce the amount of regulations that Government forces onto small businesses that simply cause them to spend time doing paperwork instead of growing their enterprise.
- Employment law reform: Missouri is seeing legal decisions pushed by trial lawyers that are eating at the state’s employment laws. This makes Missouri seem anti-business; it is also a burden on employers to recruit and maintain quality employees. The Missouri Human Rights Act needs to be brought in line with federal laws. Changes would also include capping jury trial awards and lowering punitive damage limits.
- Workers’ compensation reform: Judges are also making decisions that are taking Missouri in the wrong direction, after having passed new workers’ comp laws in 2005. It is time to ensure the letter of the 2005 law is followed and not abused by activist judges.
- Franchise tax cap: Anytime we can lower or eliminate useless taxes, I am for it. The franchise tax in Missouri was created in 1914, and was meant to only be temporary. This is double taxation. Missouri’s job providers want to see the Legislature cap the tax at 2010 levels and then phase it out over time.
- Eliminate the minimum wage escalator: Missouri’s minimum wage law allows for an automatic adjustment for inflation, based on the cost of living. This could mean the state’s minimum wage would be more than the federal wage, which only costs Missouri jobs.
- Tort reform: There is one area in the state’s legal law that puts us at a disadvantage. Current law for assessing fault and business liability says that a business can be held liable for the entire cost of litigation if it is at least 51 percent at fault. In fact, a business can be held responsible if there is a third party involved. This loophole needs to go immediately.
- Unemployment insurance reform: Missouri’s unemployment insurance trust fund is bankrupt. The state has borrowed more than $700 million from the federal government in order to pay unemployment claims. If Missouri does not start paying back this money, we will start to lose other federal aid. Our goal is to fix this, pay back the money, and get people back to work. The more people working, the fewer dollars that have to go to unemployment.