The legislature is within hours of finishing its do-over of the economic development bill.

It has taken the senate ten hours of debate to work its way through the slimmed-down economic development measure that provides millions of dollars in tax credits for neighborhood redevelopment, job creation, and training. The bill replaces a bloated financial package the legislature passed in the Spring that was vetoed by the governor. Senator John Griesheimer of Washington, the Chairman of the Senate Economic Development Committee, thins it will bring "tens of thousands" of jobs to the state.

Griesheimer is one of those who has worked since May to get a slimmer bill that lawmakers and the governor could accept. He says some companies are "waiting in the wings" to set up operations in Missouri and start hiring people when the tax breaks go into effect. He can’t describe the jobs except to say most of the new jobs will be in manufacturing.

The most controversial part of the bill is a 95-million dollar tax credit program for a developer who has to buy at least 75 acres of depressed territory in north St. Louis before he qualifies for the program. Developer Paul McKee says he wants to revitalize an area that has had severe economic and social problems for decades. Efforts were made to open the program for developers in other parts of Missouri but they all failed.

The bill has been sent back to the House, which passed it earlier, for acceptance of Senate changes. Backers think the House will accept them and send the bill to Governor Blunt later today, ending the special legislative session .

Download Bob Priddy’s story (54 mp3)