However, tort reform and other pro-small business issues frustrated by House, Senate gridlock.
“It was a frustrating year in a lot of ways,” NFIB State Director Brad Jones said. “There were a lot of good bills that couldn’t bust through the gridlock between — and sometimes within — the chambers.”
Those good bills include Senate Bill 631, a measure that would have helped small businesses defend themselves in court by narrowing the window for bringing a claim. Currently, Missourians have five years to file a lawsuit. SB631 would reduce that to two years. “Five years can be an eternity for a small business,” Jones said. “Small businesses don’t have the resources to easily find the documentation and other evidence and witnesses to defend themselves against a claim about something that supposedly happened five years ago.”
Still, small businesses did score a few important victories, Jones said.
■ House Bill 2400 restores the state and local tax (SALT) deduction for pass-through entities. If signed into law, the measure would save about 140,000 small businesses an estimated $85 million a year.
■ House Bill 1662 will prohibit local governments from imposing unfair regulations on home-based businesses that don’t interfere with the community. “If you don’t cause any big problems in the neighborhood, municipalities have to leave you alone,” Jones said.
The legislature also reauthorized Missouri’s Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant
program. The grant addresses workforce needs by helping adults pursue a certificate, degree, or industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. Grant recipients must maintain Missouri residency and work in Missouri for three years after graduation to prevent the grant from becoming a loan that must be repaid with interest.
“Overall, small business didn’t have a terrible legislative session,” Jones said, “but we didn’t have the kind of winning session we should have had.”