Governor Blunt has vetoed a huge economic development bill approved by the legislature this year, complaining it had become so bloated with special interest tax breaks that the state cannot afford it.
State Senator John Griesheimer handled the bill in the Senate but refused to sign the final report of a conference committee that recommended the final compromise version. He says he wanted the bill to pass but was hoping the conference committee would reduce the costs of it. Griesheimer says the final compromise was :"a big mess."
One of the biggest casualties of the veto is a 100-million dollar tax credit for one man. The provision was put in the bill to benefit St. Louis developer Paul McKee who has been buying a lot of vacant property in north St. Louis. Griesheimer says critics have unfairly targeted McKee. He says the tax credits would have been available to any developer but McKee is the only developer doing what the bill sanctioned. He says McKee’s plan is the only way that a long-depressed area of St. Louis will be revived.
Griesheimer, the chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee, says he had been talking to the Governor’s office regularly since the legislature ended and is not surprised the bill has been vetoed but is saddened by the action.