Senate Approaches Consensus on Tax Credit Reform
JEFFERSON CITY - Lawmakers in Missouri's capital Wednesday scratched out consensus on legislation creating tax credits to aid the building of an international trade hub at St. Louis International Airport.
A deal was spurred on by the appearance of mayors from both St. Louis and Kansas City, who testified to the Senate Jobs Committee that the proposed $360 million trade hub would create roughly 16,000 jobs. The bill now moves to formal discussion on the floor of the Missouri Senate Thursday.
The Jobs Committee's decision comes a day after legislators spent hours on the Senate floor wrangling over the tax credit reforms needed to fund the trade hub.
Proponents of the legislation say the hub would be a boon to Missouri business in tough economic times and make a lasting partnership with large exporters like China.
Opponents--both liberals and Tea Party conservatives--argued the deal only aides certain businesses and cuts benefits from Missouri's poor and disabled. Indeed, a small contingent of tea party supporters protested the legislation in the Capitol early Wednesday.
The deal comes on the heels of Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon proposed overhaul of Missouri's tax credit system, where additional funding for the trade hub could be found.
As part of his tenatively scheduled two-week special legislative session, Gov. Nixon also called for a variety of other issues to be resolved by the General Assembly including:
- Moving Missouri's presidential primary date to March.
- Giving control of the St. Louis Police Department to local officials.
- Tax breaks to bring high-tech data centers to Missouri.
Lawmakers also filed bills condemning Gov. Nixon's handling of state funds for natural disaster relief, calling his actions "unconstitutional."
The Senate Education Committee also approved a proposed law restricting teachers from communicating with their students through social networking sites like Facebook on Wednesday.