Posted: Jan 30, 2013 3:38 PM by Garrett Bergquist
Updated: Jan 30, 2013 4:59 PM
JEFFERSON CITY - Business leaders from around the state lined up Wednesday to support a new proposal to attract cargo service to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, would create a tax credit for freight carriers that fly cargo to international destinations from Lambert. Schmitt said his proposal is a scaled-down version of the "China Hub" proposal floated and failed two years ago. The new bill would allow up to $7.5 million in credits per year until 2021.
Keith Calhoun, a plant manager with Emerson Electric, said his company currently has to send components to Chicago via truck to be flown around the world. Calhoun said bringing heavy cargo service to St. Louis would reduce Emerson's shipping times by one day.
Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, told KOMU 8 News that "now is the time" to pass legislation of this kind. Nasheed said earlier proposals tried to do too many things at once and the state needs to take baby steps toward job creation.
Although no one spoke against the bill at Wednesday's hearing, past opponents of such proposals have questioned the wisdom of giving breaks to private business when the state's budget is already stretched too thin.