Special session debates Boeing incentives

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - Lawmakers will return to Jefferson City Tuesday for day two of a special legislative session.   Governor Jay Nixon (D) called for the special session.  He is asking lawmakers to approve annual tax breaks of $150 million dollars for Boeing.  Boeing had set a December 10th deadline for states to submit tax incentive proposals.

Nixon plan would grand $150 million in annual tax credits if the aerospace giant moves production of its 777X commercial jet to Missouri.  Production was slated for Washington State, but labor talks with the Machinists Union broke down.  Boeing has been shopping for another location to build the 777X.

A move to Missouri would mean more than 8,000 jobs to the St. Louis.   The tax credits would come from existing programs but would be expanded.

"Everybody back home where I`m from wants to know what I`m doing about jobs," said State Senator Eric Schmitt, (R) Glendale.  "I think this is a good way for us to pursue that."

Others were less enthusiastic about the plan.

"I`m skeptical," said State Senator Jamilah Nasheed.  She criticized lawmakers for refusing to expand Medicaid coverage during the previous session but now looking to give Boeing tax breaks.

"The hypocrisy of it all is at an all-time high," said Nasheed.  The St. Louis democrat said she wants to see proof that the Boeing incentives would result in economic benefits for her district and the state before supporting any bill.

Gov. Nixon met with lawmakers behind closed doors on Monday to make his pitch for the Boeing incentives.  After one of those meetings he remained hopeful the incentives would pass.

"All of those discussions have been civil and focused on the important issues," said Nixon.  "I think we had a great dialogue today and I look forward to that continuing."

Prior to the start of the special legislative session, the Governor made the following statement about the Boeing incentives through a press release.

"It`s important to note that these are the same targeted, fiscally responsible programs that are available to any company creating significant numbers of high-paying, family-supporting jobs," said Gov. Nixon. 'This legislation will simply give us added capacity to compete for this type of massive aerospace project, while maintaining existing accountability measures and ensuring a positive return for taxpayers. Aerospace companies like Boeing, will have to invest and create jobs in order to earn these benefits."

Copy of proposal request Boeing sent:

620.2500. 1.  As used in this section, the following terms shall mean:
(1) “Aerospace project”, a project undertaken on or after December 10, 2013 by or for the benefit of a qualified company with a North American Industry Classification System industry classification of 3364 involving the creation of at least two-thousand new jobs within ten years following the approval of a notice of intent pursuant to section 620.2020;
(2) “Job creation, worker training and infrastructure development programs”, the Missouri Works Program established under sections 620.2000 to 620.2020, Missouri Business Use Incentives for Large-Scale Development Act established under sections 100.700 to 100.850, the Missouri Works Training Program established under sections 620.800 to 620.809, and the Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act established under sections 99.800 to 99.865.
2.  Provisions of law to the contrary notwithstanding, no benefits authorized under job creation, worker training and infrastructure development programs for an aerospace project shall be considered in determining compliance with applicable limitations on the aggregate amount of benefits that may be awarded annually or cumulatively under such  programs.  No aerospace project shall be authorized for state benefits under job creation, worker training and infrastructure development programs that exceed, in the aggregate, one hundred and fifty million dollars annually under all such programs.