It is nice to read something in the paper that is not negative concerning Missouri. OK, it probably happens more than I give it credit, but it does happen.
As a self-published author, I sell my own books. And unless you pay the "big bucks," and even then there is no guarantee, I rely on a number of services to sell them. Two of those services allow me to take credit card payments: PayPal and Square. My preference is toward Square just because it takes one less interaction to get money transferred to my bank account.
Now I have a second reason — supporting a Missouri-based company.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the San Francisco-based Square will be opening a 200 person office in St. Louis. It is nice to read that Square founders and St. Louis natives Jack Dorsey, the current interim CEO of Twitter, and Jim McKelvey are "returning" home.
Square and PayPal provide similar services to the small retailer who does not have the volume to justify the bank expenses to accept credit cards or who is selling in multiple locations with no real base of operations. I sell my books at conferences and after speeches.
For both services, all one needs is a smartphone or tablet with Internet access. Download the app, plug in the card reader and sign in to your account. It is really that simple. Both services also accept the four major cards: MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express. All of this for a small fee of 2.75 percent of each transaction, which I build into my pricing.
Both services also allow the seller to plug in the local sales tax, so one can be square with the state. (Pun intended.)
The point is the additional 200 jobs Square is promising St. Louis. Not that this is coming as a freebie. The St. Louis Business Journal reported that those 200 jobs will be established over a five-year period. The encouragement for Square: up to $2.9 million in state incentives. Neither paper indicated what incentives St. Louis is offering, if any.
Now we throw caution to the wind. I am hoping that the state and St. Louis learned their lessons from the IBM fiasco here in Columbia with a promise of up to 600 new jobs and the ongoing Mamtek problems in Moberly. Both have cost the state and local governments a small fortune with unfulfilled promises of new jobs and continuous employment. I hope that the state and St. Louis are writing into the agreements strong provisions if the employment goals are not met.
St. Louis has a lot to offer the corporation, as well as universities and colleges — a tech savvy economy and training for new and current employees. St. Louis will become Square's Midwest hub. Welcome home.
Judy Baker to enter state treasurer's race
The week's other good news is that former state representative Judy Baker is considering throwing her hat into the state treasurer's race for 2016, challenging Democrat Pat Contreras of Kansas City. Although both are fully qualified for the role, Judy's time as the regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services and her two terms in the state House gives her the advantage for knowing what is happening in Missouri.
Baker's background also may be a hindrance. GOP state Chairman John Hancock has already declared that if Baker wins, the Republicans will implicate her as the "chief implementer of Obamacare in Missouri."
Yet Baker knows more about the failure of the state legislators not passing a Medicaid expansion bill and will use that as her counter-argument in this race.
Judy's other advantage is that there are only two candidates in the primary race for state treasurer in 2016. When she ran for lieutenant governor in 2012, she got lost in an overcrowded field of eight Democratic candidates. Name recognition also was a big part of the problem with former state auditor and eventual candidate Susan Montee as the front runner for the Democratic primary campaign.
On the GOP side, state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, is seeking the nomination. Schmitt has been active in the Senate and will be a tough candidate regardless of who will be his Democratic opponent.
I have known Judy for almost as long as I have lived in Missouri. I am supporting her candidacy and will be writing about her more in the coming months.