Economy & Innovation

Economy
6:57 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Mississippi Levels Drop, Barge Traffic Could Halt Mid-January

via Flickr/TeamSaintLouis (Army Corps of Engineers)

Updated 3:13 p.m. Dec. 28

The Mississippi River's water level is dropping again and barge industry trade groups warn that river commerce could essentially come to a halt by mid-January.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports ice on the northern section of the Mississippi is reducing flow more than expected.

Despite that fact, the Coast Guard remains confident that the nation's largest waterway will remain open.

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Gift cards
6:48 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Advice To Consumers: Use Gift Cards Right Away

via Flickr/401(K) 2012

Did you get a gift card this holiday season? You're not alone.

Consumers were expected to spend about $80 billion on gift cards this year, and advocates suggest using them right away to avoid a lost or stolen card.

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St. Louis on the Air
5:23 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

Former U.S. Senator Kit Bond, WTC’s Tim Nowak Support Increased Trade With China

Seated l-r: Tim Nowak, World Trade Center St. Louis, and Chung Tam, chief rep., Greater China Amer. Society of Transp. & Logistics...standing l-r: former Sen. Kit Bond and Ricardo Pelaez from US Consulate Gen.'s Shanghai office
Jason Van Eaton, Kit Bond Strategies

Earlier this month, Missouri and St. Louis-area leaders wrapped up a trade mission to China.  The trip was designed, in part, to revive the so-called China Hub project.

Members of the Midwest-China Hub Commission and the American Society of Transportation and Logistics signed an agreement in Shanghai to pursue expanding trade between the U.S. and China, and in particular adding new airfreight routes between the Asian nation and St. Louis. 

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Economy
4:06 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

In Wake Of Newtown Massacre, Missouri Gun Sales Skyrocket

The AR-15 rifle is made by several weapons companies
Credit via Wikimedia Commons

Updated 1:56 p.m. Dec. 20 with information about background  checks in Illinois

It’s perhaps counter intuitive, but when acts of violence shake the nation, sales of guns go up. The same is happening with the sales of semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines.

Under normal circumstances you might be confuse the rush of customers at Mid America Arms in South St. Louis, as Christmas shoppers, but not so this year.

“It’s been one of our best days in 13 years but…not for the right reasons,” says owner Mark Campbell.

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St. Louis on the Air
5:31 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Ongoing Fiscal Cliff Negotiations Impact Year-End Tax Considerations

(via Flickr/Tax Credits)

It’s said that one of the certainties in life is taxes.  However, taxes for 2012 are to some degree, uncertain because of ongoing negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff.

Host Don Marsh talked with tax expert Lance Weiss, C.P.A., of SFW Partners, LLC about end-of-year tax preparations and what can be done to minimize the amount owed on federal and state income tax returns due in April.

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Missouri Economy
5:20 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Report: Growth Expected For Missouri Economy Next Year

(via Flickr/MoneyBlogNewz)

Missouri’s economy is expected to grow next year, according to the annual revenue estimate released Tuesday by the Governor’s office and key legislative leaders.

Democratic Governor Jay Nixon, along with GOP Budget chairs Rick Stream from the House and Kurt Schaefer from the Senate, say that the state’s economy will grow by just over 3 percent during the next fiscal year.  The economic growth rate is actually estimated to be 4.8 percent – but the loss of one-time revenue sources from Washington and other factors lower it to the 3 percent net rate.

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Economy
3:10 pm
Mon December 17, 2012

Illinois Leaders Meet In Alton To Discuss Mississippi Drought

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, in Alton, Ill.
Credit Adam Allington / St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois politicians and business leaders met in Alton on Monday to discuss ongoing efforts to keep shipping open on the drought-stricken Mississippi River.

The meeting coincides with work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove rock formations from the riverbed just south of Cape Girardeau.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin called the drought situation “a historic challenge," saying that additional measures may have to be taken to keep commerce functioning.

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Business
9:54 am
Mon December 17, 2012

Laclede Customer Base To Double Under Southern Union Deal

(via Flickr/Fergus Randall)

St. Louis-based Laclede Group Inc. will buy two of Houston-based Southern Union Co.'s utilities, Missouri Gas Energy and New England Gas Co., for $1.02 billion.

Energy Transfer Equity's takeover of pipeline operator Southern Union Co closed early this year.

The deal announced Monday also includes the assumption of about $20 million in debt, so the companies value it at nearly $1.04 billion.

Laclede, a utility holding company, expects the deal to close next summer, and start to boost earnings a year after that.

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Illinois Credit Rating
2:33 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

Moodys Revises Illinois Credit Outlook To Negative

The inside of the dome of the Illinois Capitol building.
(via Flickr/jglazer75)

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.

Moody's Investors Services has downgraded the credit outlook for the state of Illinois from stable to negative citing the "severe pension funding shortfall."

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford says Illinois already has the worst credit rating of any state in the US.

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St. Louis on the Air
2:37 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

‘Sins And Successes’ Of St. Louis’ Beer Kings

Book Cover, "Bitter Brew: The Rise and Fall of Anheuser-Busch and America's Kings of Beer"
(Courtesy: HarperCollins Publishers)

When St. Louis native Bill Knoedelseder pitched the idea for a TV series about a wealthy brewing, baseball-team-owning family, Hollywood was skeptical. How could a Midwestern mansion hold a candle next to, say, an oil family in Dallas?

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