Jefferson City, Mo. – State Auditor Susan Montee is reviewing the Missouri Department of Agriculture after two alleged grain fraud schemes cost farmers tens of millions of dollars.
Montee said Wednesday her audit will focus on the department's Grain Regulatory Services program. Agriculture officials requested the audit, which will include recommendations that could help spot fraud sooner and help farmers recover financial losses.
The check-out lines at a Schnucks grocery store in the St. Louis suburb of Ladue are staffed with cashiers and moving smoothly on a sunny summer afternoon. However, the lines could be moving slower this fall if health officials' concerns for a severe swine flu outbreak are realized and many workers call in sick. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently urged businesses to plan for what they will do if large numbers of employees can't make it to work.
Jefferson City, MO – The Missouri Supreme Court has ruled that the state's public schools are sufficiently funded.
Nearly half of Missouri's school districts had sued the state. They argued that the funding formula adopted by lawmakers in 2005 did not provide enough money for public schools, and that those funds were not fairly distributed.
But the state's High Court unanimously rejected those arguments.
House Budget Chairman Allen Icet (R, Wildwood) is pleased with the ruling.
St. Louis, MO – Kai Ryssdal: You remember ethanol? Not too long ago it was the way this country was going to wean itself off imported crude. In 2007 Congress set hard targets for how much ethanol refiners would have to blend in with their gasoline. And it was a lot too -- 11 billion gallons this year, nearly 13 billion next year.
Springfield, Ill. – Today, Illinois shoppers will start paying more for toiletries, candy, soft drinks and liquor. Lawmakers increased the state's sales tax to pay for a statewide construction program.
Most candy had carried a 1 percent sales tax, but it now will be taxed at 6.25 percent. And it'll be the same for shampoos and toothpaste. Bottled drinks with added sweetener or flavoring, such as iced tea, will be taxed like soda.