Members of the Missouri House have moved quickly on this legislative session’s top priority: creating jobs.
It’s highly unusual for the House to move major legislation this early in the session. Preliminary approval has been given to an enhancement of the Quality Jobs program, the state’s primary economic development tool.
Sponsor Tim Flook of Liberty brings the bill to the floor with a sense of urgency, telling members that the failing national and state economies must be addressed. He says HB191 provides tax incentives for the private sector to create jobs, not a bailout.
Quality Jobs provides tax breaks to businesses that pay high wages and provide health benefits. Businesses receive the tax breaks after the jobs are created. The bill removes the annual $60 million dollar cap on the program. It also creates a small business growth act, provides incentives for underground data storage in Missouri cave warehouses and promotes the creation of business science industrial parks located near the state’s research universities.
Flook notes the bill doesn’t just seek to lure new business to the state, but also to help existing businesses expand.
"We’re going to focus on aggressive activity to create and maintain jobs," Flook tells colleagues during floor debate.
One more vote sends the bill to the Senate with plenty of time for the legislature to fulfill Governor Nixon’s request to have a jobs creation plan on his desk by Spring break.