• Regional Chamber Honors Legislators, Elected Leaders at Annual Chamber Champion Awards Dinner

    Nov 30, 2017

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber held its annual “Championing a Greater St. Louis” Dinner at the Missouri Athletic Club in downtown St. Louis on November 28th. The awards event recognized the service of members in the Illinois and Missouri General Assemblies, and acknowledged legislators who exhibited outstanding dedication and support for the Chamber’s legislative priorities in 2017 and the future. The Chamber also gave its first-ever Regional Leadership Award, which recognized local elected officials for working together to solve significant issues in the St. Louis Region.

    Addressing over 200 business leaders and elected officials, Regional Chamber President and CEO Joe Reagan emphasized the Chamber’s work in bringing people together for the benefit of a unified St. Louis region. He noted that no conversation in the public arena will be more complex than that about local government fragmentation and creating a new story of unity. In addition, Reagan said that everyone has a role to play in advancing forward-thinking economic policy by advocating for public polices in three key areas: safety and security, equity and opportunity, and building and investing in regional infrastructure. 

    The 2017 honorees included Legacy Award winners Illinois Senator Bill Haine and Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard for their tremendous public service and commitment to the Chamber’s priorities throughout their careers. 

    The Regional Chamber also recognized fourteen legislators as Chamber Champions. These legislators championed the organization’s priority issues and achieved meaningful success this year. Awardees included Missouri Reps. Kevin Corlew and Joe Don McGaugh, Sens. Ed Emery, Doug Libla, Gary Romine and Caleb Rowden, and Speaker of the House Todd Richardson for their work to reform Missouri’s tort law to better provide a just, efficient and consistent legal system.

    Other Champion winners included Illinois Reps. Greg Harris and David Harris, Sen. Heather Steans and Senate President John Cullerton for their tireless and bipartisan work to pass a budget, while Missouri Sen. Ryan Silvey, Rep. Corlew and Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr were recognized for their bill authorizing REAL-ID compliant driver’s licenses in Missouri.

    In addition to the Chamber Champions, the Regional Chamber gave Advocate awards to five Missouri legislators who were strong voices for the Chamber’s priority issues in the General Assembly. The awardees included Sen. Caleb Rowden and Rep. Mike Kelley as Advocates for sponsoring a state Earned Income Tax Credit bill, the Chamber’s highest legislative priority in Missouri.

    The Chamber also recognized Rep. Kevin Corlew for creating and chairing the 21st Century Missouri Transportation System Task Force, Rep. Glen Kolkmeyer for a tort reform bill that prevents so-called “venue shopping,” and Rep. Kevin Engler for calling for the Missouri Nondiscrimation Act to be expanded to include LGBT individuals. 

    The Regional Chamber bestowed five Catalyst Awards to lawmakers that demonstrate promise for advancing priority issues for the Chamber in the future. Missouri Reps. Jean Evans, Bruce Franks and Peter Merideth received the award as standout freshman legislators, who made time to build relationships with their colleagues throughout the Capitol while looking for ways quickly make an impact while they learn the ins and outs of the legislative process.  

    Rep. Holly Rehder was recognized for her tireless work on creating a stateside prescription drug monitoring database, while freshman Sen. Dave Schatz was responsible for sending six bills to the Governor’s desk, including legislation that makes changes to Missouri's worker’s compensation laws.

    See all the photos from the evening on the Chamber's Flickr page.

    Chamber Champs_Richardson
    Chamber Champs_Krewson 
    Missouri Speaker of the House Todd Richardson addresses the crowd upon receiving his Champion Award.
     (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon Krewson receiving the inaugural Regional Leadership Award.
     Chamber Champs_Cullerton  Chamber Champs_Catalysts
     Illinois Senate President John Cullerton takes the podium upon receiving his Champion Award.  (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, Missouri Reps. Jean Evans, Peter Merideth, Bruce Franks, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon the representatives receiving their Catalysts Awards.
     Chamber Champs_Champions  Chamber Champs_Haine
    (From left to right) AECOM Vice President and Chamber Public Policy Chairman Jennifer Obertino, Missouri Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, Sen. Ryan Silvey, Rep. Corlew, and St. Louis Regional Chamber President & CEO Joe Reagan pose for a photo upon the representatives receiving their Champion Awards. Illinois Sen. Bill Haine addresses the crowd upon receiving his Legacy Award. 
  • Greater St. Louis Standard of Living Ranked 7th Highest Among Largest Metros

    Oct 20, 2017

    A new report released by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis provides further details on a new way to measure standards of living, termed Regional Price Parities (RPP). RPPs compare price level differences, and thus cost of living between states or metro areas.

    St. Louis enjoys a significantly lower cost of living compared to U.S. averages, especially for an area its size. Cost of living indexes provide information about quality of life and general living standards. These indexes are useful for measuring how much an individual can consume. The most well-known cost of living index is the ACCRA Cost of Living Index (COLI) produced by the Council for Community and Economic Research. The COLI measures the relative cost of U.S. metropolitan areas. The following table includes cost index components for the St. Louis, MO-IL metro area. 

    Cost of Living – St. Louis, MO-IL MSA, 2016 Average

    Metro Area

    100% Composite Index

    Grocery Items




    Health Care

    Misc. Goods and Services

    St. Louis








    Note:  U.S. metro average cost of living = 100.
    Source:  “ACCRA Cost of Living Index, 2016 Average Annual Data” Council for Community and Economic Research, Jan. 2017.

    Regional Price Parities are spatial price indexes used to compare costs across different areas, like the ACCRA Cost of Living Index. However, the RPP is better suited to adjusting income for cost of living.

    In 2015, Missouri’s RPP was 89.3, more than ten percent below the national average of 100. The St. Louis region has an RPP of 90.6, considerably below the national average.

    Standards of living can also be measured by per capita personal income. In 2015, the Bureau of Economic Analysis ranked metro areas according to per capita personal income. The region’s per capita personal income in chained 2009 dollars was $44,715 and ranked 67th out of all U.S. metro areas in 2015. However, when adjusted for RPPs, the region’s per capita personal income increased to $49,598, ranking 20th. “On an RPP-adjusted basis, per capita personal income in St. Louis jumped from 1.6 percent above the national average to 12.7 percent above the national average” (1). An article on the report by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis stated, “St. Louis has the seventh highest standard of living among 53 U.S. metro areas with populations of more than 1 million” (2).

    Sources: (1) “Living Standards in St. Louis and the Eighth Federal Reserve District: Let’s Get Real” Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, 2017. (2) “St. Louis Standard of Living Ranked 7th Among Large U.S. Metros” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, October 7, 2017.