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Nixon to Call Special Session to Consider Economic Development Bill (7-20-11

Senate and House Leaders are joined by community and business leaders for the announcement at Lambert -St. Louis International Airport

UPDATE: Gov. Jay Nixon said this afternoon that he'll call a special session to consider a major piece of economic development legislation unveiled by state lawmakers earlier today.

Shortly after a news conference announcing the tax credit package, a Nixon spokesman released this statement.

By working together in a bi-partisan way, we've taken another important step toward passing a major job-creation package in a fiscally responsible manner. 

"From day one, Gov. Nixon's priorities have been creating jobs and keeping our state's fiscal house in order. The Governor intends to call the General Assembly into special session to focus on passing a bi-partisan jobs package and moving our economy forward.

The Governor is due to give a "major" speech on economic development in Creve Coeur on Thursday. Legislative leaders said they plan to sit down with the Governor to discuss their plan early next week.

Our earlier story is below:

State legislators have reached an agreement on a tax credit deal that would include subsidies for data centers, science startups and a Chinese cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

The plan — hotly debated but not passed during spring's legislative session — will be unveiled later today by House Speaker Steve Tilley and Rob Mayer, president pro tem of the Senate.

The people familiar with the plan's details say it cuts state spending on tax credits — a key goal of Gov. Jay Nixon — while also creating new programs that have long been priorities of the St. Louis business community.

It would create the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, which would dedicate some tax revenue from science companies into a funding pool for startups. It would also create new tax credits for data centers. Most prized by St. Louis-area groups, though, it would set aside $360 million in tax credits for flights and buildings around a proposed international cargo hub at Lambert.

The plan achieves this by imposing new caps on historic and low-income housing tax credits, $90 million and $130 million respectively. Each program would have a seven-year sunset and there would be new restrictions on "stacking" the two programs. It also will — in the words of one lawmaker — "blow up" the Missouri Housing Development Corp., which awards the low-income credits, by replacing its current board with a six-member group, with two members apiece appointed by the Governor, House Speaker and Senate President.

To pass the legislation, lawmakers would likely have to go a special session, something Nixon said he would not do without broad agreement. Wednesday morning, the governor's office said it had not yet been briefed on the plan and had no comment. Nixon is due to give a major speech on economic development on Thursday in Creve Coeur.



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