State Senators get the word that thousands of Missourians might have jobs if the legislature passes the right kind of economic development bill this week. The key elements are a program giving employers tax breaks if they create well-paying jobs that have health insurance coverage attached and a program giving tax breaks to employers who create jobs within enhanced enterprise zones–which are distressed areas within communities.

Economic Development Director Greg Steinhoff says a lot of companies are waiting to see what the legislature does before deciding whether to expand or start a new facility. He has told a Senate committee there are "thousands of prospects in the queue right now."

Steinhoff says about three-thousand jobs are in the so-called "critical contingent" stage. Plant location consultants hired by companies considering new plant locations are waiting to see what tax breaks the legislature approves in this special session.

He says the bill’s revitalization of the jobs training program is another key part of the bill. Steinhoff says the existing program has enabled the state to raise the skills of many people who work for the state’s biggest employers, making them more valuable to those companies, and better able to deal with changed working conditions.

The full Senate will debate the bill tomorrow before sending it back to the House with changes made in the House-passed version. The House will return on Thursday to consider those changes.


Download Bob Priddy’s story (61 mp3)