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Morning headlines: Wednesday, August 31, 2011

UPI/Bill Greenblatt
Mo. business groups are teaming up with labor unions to tout a package of tax incentives to be considered during a special legislative session.

Mo. businesses team up with labor unions to tout tax incentive package

The AFL-CIO has joined with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and several local chamber affiliates to push for passage of wide-ranging legislation during a special session set to begin Sept. 6.

The proposal would create new tax breaks to encourage goods to be shipped internationally through the St. Louis airport. It also would create new tax incentives for science and technology-based companies, computerized data storage centers and the organizers of amateur sporting events. Other new incentives would be aimed at keeping Missouri companies from leaving the state.

Union and business leaders say the plan could create thousands of jobs in coming years.

Joplin tornado devastation expected to cost insurance companies $2.2 billion

Property Claims Services, which determines insurance payouts for catastrophes, said Tuesday the $2.2 billion figure includes payouts already made and projected payouts for the May 22 tornado.

The Joplin Globe reports  that insurance officials say the payouts aren't expected to go much higher than $2.2 billion.

As of July 15, the Missouri Department of Insurance had received 16,656 claims for insurance coverage. The department says insurance companies had made payments of $745.3 million, but nearly 1,300 claims had not been resolved. Of that amount, more than $404 million was paid to homeowners who had filed 7,600 claims. And more than $289 million was paid for 1,902 claims related to commercial property.

Southeast Mo. sites to reopen after levee breach

A state park and historic site in southeast Missouri's Mississippi County will reopen on Friday, four months after the intentional breach of the Birds Point levee.

The Big Oak Tree State Park and Towosahgy State Historic Site were covered with up to 16 feet of water after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers used explosives to blast holes in the levee.

World Chess Hall of Fame to open

The World Chess Hall of Fame will open in St. Louis next month. The hall is moving from Miami to a building across from the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.

Admission to the World Chess Hall of Fame is free year-round.


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