A huge economic development package gets overwhelming initial approval in the House as Missouri tries to land a huge economic development plum.
Unlike the Senate, the House hasn’t hung up on the incentive package the State Economic Development Department has offered Bombardier Aerospace of Canada to locate an airplane manufacturing plant at Kansas City International Airport. The deal offers tax breaks of up to $40 million a year for the next 22 years.
Rep. Ron Richard (R-Joplin), chairman of the House Job Creation and Economic Development Committee, said the package, HB 2393 , would answer a nagging question hanging over economic development in Missouri.
"How come Missouri can’t get the big deal, can’t qualify (for) the big deal?" Richard stated during House floor debate, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the big deal."
It is so big a deal, the legislature has acted quickly to get it through committees and onto the House and Senate floors for debate. The Senate has stalled on the measure and hasn’t taken a vote. The House has taken a preliminary vote, supporting the incentives on a 140-8 vote. Final passage is expected before the legislature adjourns for the week.
Rep. Tim Flook (R-Liberty) said during House floor debate that land sitting idle around KCI will see incredible development if Bombardier chooses Missouri. Flook says it will bring about economic growth that the city has not been able to bring to the airport for more than 30 years. Flook succeeded in adding an amendment to the bill that would abate property taxes on the manufacturing complex.
Not everyone has climbed on the bandwagon. The mere size of the deal scares off Representative Rachel Bringer of Palmyra, who told colleagues, "I’m not sure we have ever given $800 million to one company…ever."
That $800 million figure is hotly disputed by the Department of Economic Development which says the deal will never grow that big. Officials with the department point out that provisions in the package will trigger a return on the investment within eight years.