Financial crisis 'will drive up debt repayments for poorer nations' - The Guardian Financial crisis 'will drive up debt repayments for poorer nations' - The Guardian

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Financial crisis 'will drive up debt repayments for poorer nations' - The Guardian

Financial crisis 'will drive up debt repayments for poorer nations' - The Guardian

Poor countries can expect to see their debt repayments to the rest of the world increase by an average of a third by 2014, as they battle with the consequences of the financial crisis in the west, according to a new report by the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

Leaders of the G8 economies, including the US and Japan, have expressed their frustration at this weekend's summit at Camp David that European governments have failed to secure the future of the single currency – or erect a powerful enough firewall to prevent the consequences of a potential euro meltdown spreading.

But many far less powerful states will be severely hit by the events playing out across Europe, with no chance to urge Angela Merkel and Fran├žois Hollande to act. Jubilee's Tim Jones says: "Impoverished countries could be dramatically affected by the worsening European debt crisis."

Just as in the first wave of the global credit crunch, poor countries are likely to suffer falling income from exports as demand from recession-hit European countries declines; from capital flooding out of the country as banks and other multinational firms repatriate funds to shore up their finances back home; and from declining revenue from migrants living in Europe who send cash back to their families.

In its report The State of Debt, Jubilee uses predictions from the IMF and World Bank to show that among 61 poor countries it analysed, total debt repayments are expected to rise by a third on average over the next two years as a result of the slower growth and shaky financial system in the rest of the world.

The recession of 2008-09 ended a long-term decline in many poor governments' debt repayments. Intense public pressure from a global coalition of campaigners had earlier helped to bring about widespread debt cancellation among scores of poorer countries.

Jubilee's research shows that international debt relief, championed by Gordon Brown in the UK and administered by the IMF and the World Bank under the so-called heavily indebted poor countries (HIPC) scheme, helped to cut debt repayments sharply, from 20% of government revenue in 1998 to less than 5% in 2010.

There is evidence that the benefits have been felt by ordinary families in those nations: in Tanzania, for example, school fees were abolished after the country was granted debt relief in 2001, and primary school enrolment jumped to 82%, from less than 50% in the late 1990s.

More recently, however, the burden of debt has begun to increase again as governments have borrowed to tide themselves over during the last few tough years. In many cases, the new lending has come from the IMF, which bailed out countries in distress when the downturn first hit. There has also been a large increase in private-sector lending to the world's poorest countries, while new international players such as China and India have begun to exert growing influence across Africa, building everything from giant container ports to five-star hotels, usually with money loaned to the host country.

Some countries that received international help with debt, including Ethiopia, Mozambique and Niger, could soon be spending as much on repayments as they were before they received that relief. Jubilee fears that this may be sowing the seeds of a future crisis. Many HIPC countries have large current-account deficits, of 5% or more, revealing a strong reliance on foreign finance. That could leave them highly vulnerable if investors decide to pull out their cash, as they undoubtedly would if a Greek exit from the eurozone sparked a rush towards the world's safe havens.

Max Lawson, head of policy at Oxfam, says developing countries will find it harder to cope with a fresh financial crisis in Europe because many dived into the red to cope with the credit squeeze of 2008-09. He argues that the IMF, then under the leadership of the left-of-centre Dominique Strauss-Kahn, deliberately allowed governments extra leeway to prevent the downturn hitting social spending such as education and health budgets.

But many developing countries are now being urged by the IMF, under the more orthodox Christine Lagarde, to implement strict spending targets to eliminate the deficits run up over the past few years. "Their advice to poor countries tends to mirror the G8 mood," Lawson says. "We were briefly Keynesian in the north, and the IMF became more flexible, but now it's all about austerity."

Kate Dooley, of Save the Children, agrees that the world's poorest countries will pay a hefty price for the renewed turmoil in Europe. "The problem this time around is really high unemployment," she says: this hits migrant workers from poor countries hard, and cuts off the flow of so-called remittances they were sending back home. "The other is the lower capital flows because of the recapitalisation of the banks in Europe."

Jubilee hopes that the eurozone's travails over the past 12 months will underline the potentially catastrophic consequences of allowing debts – whether to other governments or private sector lenders – to run out of control. Instead of a financial free-for-all, it would like to see governments given the power to impose so-called capital controls, limiting the flow of short-term, speculative cash in and out of vulnerable economies. And debt campaigners have long called for an international system for arbitrating cross-border debts and ensuring both creditors and debtors are dealt with fairly: something that has been woefully absent in the Greek case, where the fraught question of who owes what to whom has led to political paralysis.

In fact, Jones insists the only answer to Europe's travails will be for it to have its own jubilee, and write off some of the unpayable debts of countries such as Greece and Portugal. He says: "Europe rapidly needs to move away from austerity and bailing out reckless banks, and cancel debts which are too high."



Imposing sanctions on Iran damaging West financial recovery’ - Presstv

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The sanctions have created a lot of disturbances for us, but we have overcome those challenges and difficulties, and are making up for what was lacking.” Iran's Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamseddin Hosseini The Iranian minister of economic ...

GeneLink Reports 2011 Financial Results - Yahoo Finance

ORLANDO, Fla., May 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- GeneLink, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: GNLKE, "the Company," or "GeneLink"), a leading consumer genomics biotech company, reports financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011.

Financial Results:

  • The Company reached an agreement in October 2011 to sell its direct selling subsidiary, GeneWize Life Sciences, Inc. to Capsalus Corp (OTCBB:WELL.OB, or "Capsalus"). Capsalus assumed management of GeneWize for the last quarter of the year and the sale closed in February of 2012. Accompanying the sale was a licensing and distribution agreement which provided $1,000,000 to GeneLink during the fiscal year.
  • Annual net sales decreased from $7,839,972 to $4,684,577 as GeneWize struggled during the year to maintain their brand partner enthusiasm in advance of the sale and while combating competitive pressures.  In addition, anticipated revenues from the launch of other channels were delayed.
  • The operating loss in 2011 was $3,566,615.  Most of the loss is attributable to the reduction in sales in GeneWize and implementation of plans to support GeneLink's expansion into additional channels.  In addition, we had extraordinary legal expenses related to regulatory compliance.  Excluding the non-recurring legal fees and expenses of $665,000, and $379,670 in non-cash charges relating to the granting of stock, options and warrants, operating losses would be $2,521,945.

Dr. Bernard Kasten, GeneLink's Chairman and CEO stated, "2011 was a year of transition for us, which included the sale of our direct selling subsidiary, GeneWize Life Sciences, to Capsalus Corp (WELLE.OB).  Though the pending transaction challenged GeneWize's 2011 sales, newly infused enthusiasm through Capsalus bodes well for both Capsalus and GeneLink as GeneWize continues to feature GeneLink's highly differentiated nutrition and skin care products as a focus of its sales efforts.  With the added revenues anticipated from direct response and other targeted markets as well, we have high hopes for 2012."

Re-audit Required

In addition to its 2011 results, the Company reported that a re-audit of its 2010 financial statements resulted in a restatement of the Company's results for that year.

"While we are disappointed to have to restate our 2010 financial results, it's important to note that this restatement largely reflects a technical calculation regarding the beneficial conversion feature of our notes payable and had little impact on our previously reported 2010 revenues and operating loss and no net impact on 2010 cash flows," stated GeneLink's Chief Financial Officer, John A. Webb.

A re-audit of 2010 was required when, on March 5, 2012, the Company was notified that the Public Company Audit Oversight Board ("PCAOB") announced that it had suspended for one year the registration of Buckno Lisicky & Company, P.C. ("Buckno").  Buckno, the Company's prior independent registered accountants, was suspended for failure to timely file 2010 and 2011 annual reports with the PCAOB – a matter unrelated to its work with GeneLink. As a result of that suspension, the SEC determined that GeneLink could no longer include the audit reports of Buckno in its filings with them.  A re-audit by a new firm was required to address 2010 comparative figures included in the 2011 Form 10-K filing.

Additional information regarding the restatement will be included in a Form 8-K to be filed by the Company on or about May 11, 2012 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

About GeneLink Biosciences, Inc.:

GeneLink Biosciences is a 17-year old leading biosciences company specializing in consumer genomics. GeneLink's patented technologies include proprietary DNA test assessments linked to personalized health, beauty and wellness applications and products. Its DNA assessments provide information that enables the customization of nutritional and skincare products designed and manufactured to fulfill each individual consumer's wellness needs. For more information visit www.genelinkbio.com.

This release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. With the exception of historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in the press release involve risk and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statement. GeneLink disclaims any intention or obligation to revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

 



New Business Launch Announcement - Yahoo Finance

DAYTON, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Effective Quality Services, LLC., officially opens its doors for business with an already proven record of performance in providing companies with effective business practices and sustainable quality and/or environmental systems that result in measurable success and increased profitability. Effective Quality Services, LLC., provides its proven-effective business analysis and quality standards compliance services for leading companies throughout the United States.

Some of the services provided by Effective Quality Services, LLC., include:

  • Internal Audits
   
  • Customer Satisfaction Measurement
  • Gap Analysis
  • Process Mapping
  • Training
  • Consulting

According to Tod Heslop, the Founder and President of Effective Quality Services, LLC., “Our goal is to discover the hidden profits in business operations. Our greatest satisfaction results from helping companies develop an effective, sustainable management system that delivers increased efficiency and profitability.”

Mr. Heslop was the former audit manager of the world’s #1 quality registrar, as rated by Quality Digest, and is an International Register of Certified Auditors (IRCA) certified Lead Auditor. He is also a senior member of AQS. Mr. Heslop has logged many years of successful auditing and consulting with thousands of satisfied clients throughout the United States. Having worked in the third party registration business for over 10 years, his experience, personal knowledge and critical analysis skills allow him to readily recognize the difference between what works and what doesn’t. Mr. Heslop has completed over 2,500 third party audits, in all facets of the Quality Management Systems.

Effective Quality Services, LLC., where integrity, passion and experience makes a difference in the level of added value delivered. For additional information, please visit www.effectiveqs.com.



Business community important to XU dean - Cincinnati.com

Brian Till takes over as dean of Xavier Universitys Williams College of Business on July 1, mindful of the need to leverage ties with the regions business community.

Being at a business school in a major urban area is highly valuable because of the strong business presence of companies of all sizes. There is a lot of community support of Xavier, Till says.

Tapped in March to lead the school, Till, 51, spent the past 17 years at St. Louis University where he was chairman of the marketing department.

Im not coming with a predetermined prescription for the college of business, rather I will be working with key business school constituents to develop a path forward, Till says. He adds that he will spend his first weeks on the job talking with faculty, staff, students and business leaders.

Till says a thriving business community surrounding Xavier is one of the universitys most potent assets. He says hell continue to strengthen ties with business leaders, and to promote Xavier initiatives like the executive MBA and X-Lab entrepreneurship programs.

The executive MBA program attracts high-achieving local professionals that are populating various companies, he says. It provides a good interchange between faculty and the business community. Its also a very practical, focused program.

The X-Lab, meanwhile, allows local entrepreneurs to develop a business idea using a team of MBA students.

Its good for students because they find practical applications for what theyre learning. Its good for the university to contribute to the bigger picture for development of business. And its good for the entrepreneurs because they get specialized expertise they dont have a background in.

A St. Louis native, Till received his undergraduate and masters degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. in marketing from the University of South Carolina. He plans to live downtown.

Till replaces Ali Malekzadeh who left Xavier last summer to become dean of the business school at Kansas State University. After eight years at Xavier, Malekzadeh was the third-highest paid Xavier employee with an annual salary of $302,000 in 2009, the latest year reported.



WPN Business Alliance Rally Announces “Meet the Media” Luncheon Panel and Spotlight Breakout Speakers - PR.com
Raleigh, NC, May 19, 2012 --(PR.com)-- On May 19th Women’s Power Networking are presenting their fourth annual business expo. This year, the day-long Business Alliance Rally 2012, is offering a special “Meet the Media Luncheon” in addition to 24 breakout sessions featuring local experts covering business and health related topics. The business expo will take place from 10am – 5pm at the McKimmon Center located at 1101 Gorman Street on the NCSU campus in Raleigh. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Alzheimer's Association - Eastern North Carolina. Admission tickets are $10 and free with $25 luncheon purchase. Discounts for multiple ticket purchases are available. Raffle tickets are $5 each and 3 for $10. Businesses, non-profits, organizations and individuals interested attending or purchasing raffle tickets should visit www.WPN-BAR.com.

The catered “Meet the Media Luncheon” runs from 12:15 to 1:30pm inside the McKimmon Center. The panel will focus on helping luncheon attendees understand today’s media choices in developing marketing plans for their business. Panel members are: Alex McTighe, National Sales Manager, Curtis Media Group (radio); Barbara Petty, Owner/Publisher, Boom! Magazine; Matthew Donegan, General Sales Manager, Fox 50 TV; William Ammerman, Sales and Marketing Manager, WRAL.com; and James Wong, Co-founder/Partner, Empowered Ideas. Luncheon tickets include event entry and are $25 in advance online at http://WPNMedia.eventbrite.com and $35 at the door.

The 14 Spotlight! Speakers are industry experts leading 24 breakout sessions. Featured speakers are: Julie Alexander, Michele Howe Clarke, Danielle Cooley, Bill Davis, Sharon Cole Edler, Connie Holstein, Clare Luffman, Diana Needham, Olalah Njenga, Dr. Joanne Pizzino, Kristin Springfield, Geanine Thompson, Honey Beth Wiggs, and Sherrie Wilkolaski. The one-hour private breakouts will be at 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm. Each speaker will present at two different times in one of eight designated rooms. Attendees can choose from marketing, relationship building, personal development, book publishing and promotion, health and wellness, managing an in-home business, how to become an expert in your field, developing endless prospects, and financial management and investment. For topic titles, presentation times and location, go to: http://www.wpn-bar.com/Breakout__Speakers.html

Marilyn Shannon, co-founder of Women's Power Networking and facilitator of the “Meet the Media Luncheon” added, “The Business Alliance Rally is intended for everyone. It provides a chance for businesses to network with one another, sell their products and services, learn how to be more successful, and expand their alliances; fulfilling the promise of Women's Power Networking: "Alliances for Business–Alliances for Life."

About Women’s Power Networking (WPN)
Founded originally as Coffee and Contacts in 2007, Women's Power Networking "Alliances for Business - Alliances for Life" is a growing, national women's business referral network. WPN is the umbrella organization for Power Lunches, the Women Executives Roundtable and the after hours networking event, Cocktails and Contacts. Weekly Coffee and Contacts chapter meetings offer women a positive environment to grow personally and professionally. The WPN Speakers Bureau arranges professional keynote and business speakers for conferences, business meetings, retreats or galas. Visit: http://www.WomensPowerNetworking.com

Media Contact:
Eileen Batson
919.413.2318
Eileen@BGMPR.com
Batson Group Marketing and PR



The Business Finance Store Highlights Considerations for Upgrading a Credit Card Terminal - Consumer Electronics Net

 

May 19, 2012 --

Santa Ana, CA (PRWEB) May 19, 2012

VeriFones SAIL credit card swiper might be a little too close to Squares mobile technology, Bloomberg Businessweek reported. While VeriFones SAIL looks physically different, the agreement and usage terms are remarkably similar, such that Square might believe VeriFone copied their merchant agreement. Regardless of whether these VeriFone copied square, the news is demonstrative of the fact that credit card swiping technology is constantly changing. With constant changes in merchant terminal technology, small businesses might be wondering whether it is worth it to update. In the recent blog post Should You Upgrade Your Credit Card Terminal?, The Business Finance Store highlights some things to look for when considering upgrading a credit card terminal.     

Technology is changing quickly. For small business owners, they might have a hard time keeping up. Changes in merchant terminal technology now allow customers to pay with a credit card just about anywhere with some of the other technologies that have surfaced. Read more about upgrading credit card terminal technology at The Business Finance Store Blog.

The Business Finance Store is a business financing and consulting firm that offers customized Business Financial Solutions. Seasoned professionals offer assistance in a variety of financial solutions to help small businesses succeed such as:Business Financial Solutions, Legal Solutions, and Accounting Solutions.



The staff at The Business Finance Store understands that starting and growing a business is an exciting time. They keep it exciting by taking care of some of the most difficult aspects, by providing legal advice, helping with vital responsibilities like accounting & bookkeeping, and by obtaining business finance. They can quickly and easily guide entrepreneurs through many different complicated processes and put them on the path to success.

For 10 years The Business Finance Store has been helping startups and other small businesses legally structure their companies, find the right franchises, get the funding they need, and achieve the American Dream of owning their own successful business. Since expanding nationwide in 2007, they have helped thousands of companies and have funded over $60 Million in business credit lines, not including SBA loans. The Business Finance Store sees limitless potential in the current climate, and looks forward to many strong years of growth to come. Take some time to review their services, and give them a call.

For more information, or a free, no-obligation analysis of your business needs, visit The Business Finance Store website: http://www.businessfinancestore.com. A member of their professional staff will contact you to discuss your business' short and long-term goals. Whatever you need, The Business Finance Store is there.

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9521467.htm.

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Mindanao business sector eyes integrated ASEAN market - Minda News
Mindanao business sector eyes integrated ASEAN market
By Froilan Gallardo | Sunday| May 20, 2012 | Filed under: Top Stories


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/19 May) –With the uncertainty of the China market brought about by the dispute over Scarborough shoal, Mindanao businessmen are looking into a newer and bigger market: the Asean integrated market.

Ricardo Juliano, Mindanao vice president of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries, said businessmen from the boardrooms to the farms are looking forward for the opening of the ASEAN market in 2015.

Juliano said 2015 “can be the sunshine year for Mindanao business” as there is
“so much potential when the integrated single market of ASEAN countries opens.”

He said economic ministers from ASEAN countries expressed their determination to open the single market in the region by 2015, during the 42nd annual meeting in Vietnam in August last year.

Reaffirming their resolve, Juliano said the ministers announced that 99.65 percent of all tariff lines under the Common Effective preferential tariff scheme would be eliminated starting last January.

“Because of Mindanao’s proximity to the ASEAN market, we can flourish if we plan ahead. Besides, we are closer to Indonesia culturally than the rest of the country,” Juliano said.

According to the ASEAN website, a single integrated market among their member countries would allow the free flow of goods and services; and will theoretically have one price for all the products after transport cost adjustments.

Member countries of Asean are Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Burma, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam and Vietnam.

In the boardroom of A Brown Company in Opol, MisamisOriental, executives are busy planning to expand their oil palm tree plantations to meet the expected demand of the open market.

Arturo Perlas, A Brown Company vice president for administration said they are planning to expand production from the present1,000 metric tons of palm oil to 10 thousand tons by 2015.

He said they already have a mill plant capable of processing ten thousand tons in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon province.

“When the market opens by 2015, we are capable of sustaining our production to meet any demand,” Perlas said.

Perlas said they are also keen on looking into partnerships or alliances with oil palm growers from the region.

Still, Perlas said opening the country to the ASEAN integrated market is fraught with danger for the local palm oil industry.

Perlas said the palm oil industry in the country is still at its infancy compared to neighboring countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

“We are far off in production technology compared tot hese countries,” he said.

According to a study by Dr. Pablito Pamplona, a retired professor from the University of Mindanao, who is a consultant on palm oil production, the best yield in the  Philippines averages less than 20 tons a year compared to 40 tons in Malaysia.

The study also revealed that Philippines imported 500,000 metric tons of palm oil worth P23 billion a year from Malaysia.

Pamplona said inadequate application of high-yielding technologies among small farmers as the reason why local palm oil industry could not improve its production.

Perlas said the government should step-in to support the industry by providing small farmers easy-to-plant crops.

He said they estimated that with adequate government support, Philippine palm oil production can hit one million metric tons by 2022 and generate employment for 660,000 Mindanao residents.

“Oil palm growers in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand are heavily supported by their governments. This is the business environment we will be facing in 2015,” Perlas said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)



EarthLink Business Launches Cloud Workspace - Yahoo Finance

ATLANTA, May 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- EarthLink, Inc. (ELNK), a leading IT services and communications provider, today announced the launch of its new EarthLink Business® IT Services Cloud Workspace™. Following the April announcement of three EarthLink IT Services packages, Cloud Workspace, a hosted desktop service, is the company's latest virtualization service. This customized environment enables customers to control business applications and data with secure access for employees from anywhere, from any device and via any high-speed Internet or private MPLS connection. Cloud Workspace also helps to significantly reduce operating costs, eliminate capital expenditures, increase employee productivity with easy application access and reduce complex security challenges. With more than 250 applications already available, plus the ability for customers to add their own custom applications, Cloud Workspace functions as a virtual office, wherever employees work.

"With our new Cloud Workspace solution, we've taken the complexity out of application management and end-user accessibility while maximizing business benefits of the cloud," said Mike Fuqua, Vice President of Managed Services Product Management. "As data and applications moved out of the data center and onto local PC-based environments, complexities arose around how to protect the data, assure backups occurred, and provide end-users the flexibility and ability to move application activity between their devices. Cloud Workspace simplifies manageability, increases protection and delivers data and applications securely from the cloud, allowing users the convenience of using any device to access and run applications and data as if local to them, even while moving between devices."

The Cloud Workspace assists in solving many common business challenges, including a myriad of security and compliance issues, plus the need to provide access to corporate resources from smartphones, tablets and other consumer-owned devices. Its primary value lies in helping to significantly reduce operating costs and eliminate capital expenditures; increase employee productivity; and eliminate complex security challenges on EarthLink's fully-managed, centralized IT infrastructure. IT teams can avoid the headache of managing onsite servers and storage.  Centralized data storage allows businesses to breathe easier knowing that their data is not resident on local devices and is no longer as vulnerable to device theft or employee turnover.

"Organizations first may be drawn to the economics and flexibility of the cloud, but business-class solutions like Cloud Workspace also give organizations access to some surprising benefits in terms of security and resiliency," says Amy Larsen DeCarlo, Principal Analyst-Security and Data Center Services with Current Analysis. "EarthLink is able to provide the reliable infrastructure as well as the security protections and expertise that most businesses lack and the provider can do so at an attractive price."

Easy to install and use, Cloud Workspace offers many features to enable organizations of any size to have an IT experience previously only available to Fortune 500 companies. The customizable Cloud Workspace supports a mobile and telecommuting workforce, with secure, instant access to files, applications and email from any Internet connection or private MPLS connection; operating in a highly secure infrastructure that is SSAE 16 compliant, with process controls and infrastructure and certified security experts on the job 24x7; and business continuity, featuring fully redundant data storage and routine back-up and disaster recovery protection.

The IT Services product suite is also available for customer management via the myLinkTM customer portal using a centralized IT Services Center dashboard.

More information on EarthLink Business IT Services is available by calling 1-800-957-4872 or visiting www.earthlinkbusiness.com.

About EarthLink
EarthLink, Inc. (ELNK) is a leading IT services, network and communications provider to more than 150,000 businesses and over one million consumers nationwide. EarthLink empowers customers with managed IT services including cloud computing, data centers, virtualization, security, applications and support services, in addition to nationwide data and voice IP services. The company operates an extensive network including 28,800 route fiber miles, 90 metro fiber rings and 4 secure data centers providing ubiquitous IP coverage across more than 90 percent of the country. Founded in 1994, the company's award-winning reputation for both outstanding service and product innovation is supported by an experienced team of professionals focused on best-in-class customer care.  For more information, visit EarthLink's website www.earthlink.net.

Cloud Workspace™ is a trademark of MRK Networks, Inc. d/b/a independenceIT®



Mo. session ends with some of business '6' fixed - St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Despite repeated attempts during two legislative sessions, the Republicans who control Missouri's Legislature have passed only part of the six-point, pro-business agenda outlined by the state's main businesses groups, who are some of their biggest supporters.

The package dubbed "Fix the Six" includes changes to the state's workplace discrimination laws, its workers' compensation system, a phasing out of its franchise tax, a change to its minimum wage laws, tort reform and a restructuring of the state's unemployment benefits system.

Lawmakers have passed some of the agenda, and as the latest session ended Friday, they touted their passage of measures that hold the line on taxes and eliminate regulations they believe are unduly burdensome on companies, but they've failed to meet all the goals laid out at the start of the 2011 session to make the state more business-friendly and jump-start the economy.

Business groups pushed the agenda hard during that session, and lawmakers themselves referred to "fixing the six" frequently. That session saw bills pass that will do away with the state's franchise tax by 2016 and reduce the number of weeks that unemployed people in the state can receive benefits from 26 weeks to 20. Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon signed both bills.

Legislation dealing with workplace discrimination laws was vetoed this year and last. A measure dealing with the workers' compensation system was vetoed this year, but a new, scaled-down version later passed and is on its way to Nixon's desk.

Measures dealing with the minimum wage and tort reform did not advance beyond the House.

"I'd be crazy if I said we didn't expect more," said Dan Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "But we got something, so that's very important. If you get out of the pocket and off the back of business, business will do fine. This bunch gets that."

Mehan noted the franchise tax change would save businesses $80 million. The six-week reduction of state-paid unemployment benefits also will boost companies' bottom lines because they'll now pay less into that system, he said.

This year saw lawmakers give much less attention to the "Fix the Six" package. In an interview, Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer seemed to only vaguely remember the package's six parts and said passing the entire agenda was not one of his primary goals.

But he also pointed out that four of the six priorities had come through_ and passed_ his chamber. While the Senate passed workplace discrimination and workers' compensation bills with veto-proof majorities, the House did not have nearly enough votes on either measure to plausibly attempt to override Nixon.

On Friday, House Majority Leader Tim Jones defended his chamber's efforts, pointing to the scaled-back workers' compensation measure, which Nixon has indicated he will sign. That measure, which Jones himself sponsored, would bar employees from suing each other over accidental on-the-job injuries, a practice Jones said costs state businesses millions.

Although that issue "was very contentious over the last two years, (we have) something with nearly universal agreement with labor and the workers and the business owners," said Jones, R-Eureka. "Good employees will not face the choice of losing their jobs and being sued."

Lawmakers in both chambers seemed resigned to continue chipping away at the six-part list in future legislative sessions. Mehan conceded that passing one law _ let alone a package of six _ can take several years. But he said they need to be passed soon, if the state's business climate _and economy_ are to improve.


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