Missouri Senate in stalemate over GM incentive package
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — A group of Republicans opposed to an incentives deal for General Motors slowed work in the Missouri Senate to a halt on Monday with just days left before lawmakers' deadline to pass bills.
Gov. Mike Parson is pushing for $50 million in tax credits for the company in hopes of persuading it to expand a Wentzville plant that makes trucks and vans. But the plan hit a roadblock when Parson tried to pair the GM tax credits with another tax incentive program and a new scholarship.
Both are among the Republican governor's top priorities this session.
Fellow GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate conservative caucuses have derided those programs as offering free college and creating a slush fund for the Department of Economic Development to entice other businesses to the state.
Sen. Bill Eigel, R-St. Charles, who lives in a St. Louis suburb near the Wentzville plant, said the House last week added provisions to the proposal "which clearly in my mind are not necessary for the overall GM deal."
"I want to make sure that we're not passing anything that I philosophically have a lot of problems with that aren't actually required to get this through," Eigel said.
The House on Monday passed a new version without those provisions. The latest deal also would require GM to retain 90% of the current jobs at the plant in order to qualify.
But Parson spokesman Steele Shippy said the governor still is pushing for the full package as he proposed. Senate Majority Leader, Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, said GM opposes changes in the latest version, including a ban on the company from simultaneously cashing in on other economic development incentives.
"It actually makes the current environment worse," Rowden said.
Lawmakers were at an impasse Monday as members of the Conservative Caucus continued to stall work in the Senate.
That burns valuable time as lawmakers' Friday deadline to pass legislation approaches.