Economy & Innovation | St. Louis Public Radio

Economy & Innovation

News about the economy, business, and innovation happening in the St. Louis region.

St. Louis CPA Lance Weiss joined Don Marsh on Tuesday.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh discussed what you need to know in advance of filing state and federal tax returns that must be postmarked by April 17.

Lance Weiss, a certified public accountant and partner with SFW Partners LLC in St. Louis, joined the program to answer listener questions about taxes – and provide an update on changes for the 2018 tax year after recently approved tax law changes.

Monsanto is expected to keep a large operation in the St. Louis region after the Bayer buyout goes into effect.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A critical part of Bayer's multi-billion dollar buyout of Creve Coeur-based Monsanto has been approved. The European Union has signed off on the deal, but with conditions. 

Remko van Dokkum | Flickr

Two bills aim to expand high-speed broadband in rural parts of Missouri through contracts with electric cooperatives.

“The intent of the bills is to codify for the first time that it is public policy of the state of Missouri to provide access to high speed, reliable broadband,” said Senate bill sponsor Mike Cunningham, R-Rogersville, in opening statements to a Senate committee last week.

Dan Simmons of United Steelworkers Local 1899 discussed what led to the announcement that U.S. Steel will be rehiring as many as 500 Illinois workers – and what’s next for the plant.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

Ecstatic – that’s the word that Dan Simmons used to describe the mood in Granite City, Illinois, this week.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, the United Steelworkers Local 1899 president joined host Don Marsh to discuss the news that up to 500 workers will return to work at the steel mill around which the town was built.

Express Scripts headquarters
Express Scripts

Original story from 03/08/18; updated with audio from St. Louis on the Air segment on 03/09/18.

Updated at 5 p.m., with comments from an industry analyst — Health insurance giant Cigna has agreed to purchase the St. Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts.

The deal, which has already been approved by the boards of both companies, is worth about $67 billion, according to press releases.

A child looks at one of two grizzly bear cubs at the St. Louis Zoo in September 2017.
File photo I David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with additional information — The St. Louis Zoo Association is buying a 425-acre complex in north St. Louis County to breed endangered and at-risk animals, officials announced today.

The zoo is obtaining the land from the United Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562 for $7.1 million. The purchase is funded through donations from two undisclosed philanthropists.

David Miller is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and the organizing force behind CONNECT, an alliance of Pittsburgh and 40 surrounding municipalities.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

The fact that the St. Louis region encompasses nearly 90 municipalities comes up frequently in discussions about how the metropolitan area can move forward – and is sometimes cited as an explanation for regional challenges.

But David Miller doesn’t blink at that statistic.

Miller’s home city, Pittsburgh, and its surrounding Allegheny County have St. Louis beat when it comes to lots of local governments, with a total of 130 municipalities within their Western Pennsylvania bounds.

People wait to enter the Check Your Blind Spot mobile museum outside the Express Scripts headquarters in St. Louis County on Monday, March 5, 2017.
Express Scripts

Dozens of people visited a mobile museum dedicated to educating the public about unconscious bias at the Express Scripts headquarters in north St. Louis County on Monday.

More than 350 corporate executives and university presidents signed a pledge to address unconscious bias in the workplace. Local leaders at Edward Jones, Reinsurance Group of America, Inc. and St. Louis-based manufacturing company Emerson are among companies who also signed the pledge.

Western Illinois might be close to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, but it’s the driest part of the state this year.

“We really haven’t really had any measurable rain since the middle of October,” says Ken Schafer, who farms winter wheat, corn and soybeans in Jerseyville, north of St. Louis. “I dug some post-holes this winter, and it's just dust.”

A boutique apartment tower going up at Euclid and West Pine avenues received tax increment financing in 2015. It sits across from a Whole Foods, which is housed on the lower level of another apartment building that received TIF. (Feb. 21, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A coalition critical of the tax relief St. Louis awards developers wants lawmakers to make processes to grant tax incentives more transparent and more equitable.

When it started in 2016, Team TIF focused on education. But now that the public is more aware of how the city grants developers incentives, the coalition is pushing for policy changes, volunteer Molly Metzger said.

“The problems that we see in St. Louis and other cities — of racial segregation, of stark inequality — these are not created by markets alone. They are created by markets that were structured by governments,” said Metzger, a professor who studies housing policy at Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announces St. Louis County has earned Certified Work Ready Community status at a press conference on Feb. 21, 2018.
Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County has joined 50 other Missouri counties in receiving Certified Work Ready Community status. County officials announced the designation Wednesday, saying it highlights the county’s competitive workforce.

“A skilled workforce is the heart of a strong economy,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “As a CWRC, St. Louis County is sending a signal to the world that our workforce is highly skilled and businesses can expect to grow and thrive here.”

 

Culinary professionals Alex Feick (at left) and Josh Charles (center) joined Sauce Magazine editor Catherine Klene to talk about how they manage demanding careers alongside parenthood and other aspects of their lives.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Like many new parents, Josh Charles sensed that a major switch had been flipped the moment his baby was born 11 months ago. He knew right away that the days ahead would look different for him, professionally speaking, than the previous decade he’d spent cooking in fine-dining kitchens.

“The typical restaurant hours were just something that I could not do anymore,” the chef said this week on St. Louis on the Air. “I had been used to working Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at minimum, and I just knew that being locked into that restaurant wasn’t going to be cohesive for the hours that I needed to be there for my family.”

Saint Louis University's School of Business will be renamed the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business after a $15 million donation from Richard A. Chaifetz and his wife Jill Chaifetz.
Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University’s School of Business will be renamed the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. The university announced Tuesday that Dr. Richard A. Chaifetz, the founder, chairman and CEO at ComPsych Corporation and his wife, Jill Chaifetz, have contributed $15 million to the school. The change is effective immediately.

Richard Chaifetz, a SLU alumnus and trustee, said while his gift contribution does not have set requirements, he hopes it will boost the reputation of the business school that is ranked ninth nationally in undergraduate entrepreneurship.

The head of the St. Louis Regional Chamber is resigning, effective at the end of the month. Joe Reagan has been president and CEO of the organization since 2012. The chamber's board already has a replacement lined up — at least on a temporary basis.

I-64 W traffic highway
Paul Sableman | Flickr | http://bit.ly/1rzN9Hd

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for 2019 could bring big infrastructure changes to Missouri, but local engineering and commerce experts say it could be hard for the state to compete for federal dollars.

The budget promises to “generate $1 trillion in infrastructure investment” by dedicating $200 billion over 10 years to projects like improving roads, expanding internet access in rural areas, and developing creative approaches to transit, energy, water and building. Of that, $100 billion would be awarded as competitive grants to states and local governments who pursue projects “demonstrating innovative approaches” to infrastructure.

GlobalSTL

A partnership with Washington University is bringing another Israeli startup to St. Louis.

MDClone is working with researchers at the Institute for Informatics at Washington University School of Medicine. As part of the agreement, Wash U will be the first institution outside of Israel to have access to MDClone’s health care data platform. The platform offers a solution to a key issue in health care: how to conduct research while protecting patient privacy.

HCI Alternatives in Collinsville is one of 53 medical cannabis dispensaries licensed by the State of Illinois
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

Regulators and dispensary operators are taking stock of medical marijuana in Illinois as the state's program hits the two-year mark. The Illinois Department of Public Health says it has approved approximately 31,500 patients for the program, compared to more than 36,000 who have completed the application process. It has also approved more than 50 dispensaries throughout the state, including HCI Alternatives in Collinsville.

Scaffolding borders large interpretive floor art that traces the paths explorers and pioneers took westward from St. Louis.
Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh on Monday talked about renovations taking place at the Gateway Arch in advance of a planned reopening date of July 3.

Joining the discussion was Ryan McClure, director of communications and activation at the Gateway Arch Park Foundation. St. Louis on the Air producer Alex Heuer also joined the conversation.

Gov. Eric Greitens delivers the 2018 State of the State address in Jefferson City.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

Gov. Eric Greitens talks often about growing jobs in Missouri.

It was one of the major themes in the Republican governor’s State of the State address last month. He told members of the state House and Senate that he would continue to focus on several areas to create jobs:

“Making sure that we have the right laws on the books to be fair to family businesses, and making strategic investments in education, infrastructure, and workforce development,” Greitens said.

Yet just a few days later, the governor proposed a roughly $68 million reduction for public colleges and universities. The suggested cuts to higher education for the second year in a row drew criticism almost immediately, including from Greiten’s own party.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A bill moving through the Missouri General Assembly calls for mapping the state's more than 2,200 special tax districts. 

The number of such districts has exploded over the last 10 years, according to the bill's sponsor, state Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters. He said in some areas the layering of districts has pushed sales tax rates up in "a considerable way."

Pages