A jobs creation bill has breezed to passage in the House, but not without a bit of grumbling.

Businesses would receive tax breaks both for creating new jobs and retaining the ones they have. Tax incentives will be offered to lure businesses to the state. Research and development parks would be created under HB191 .

House Minority Leader Paul LeVota (D-Independence) questioned whether supporters could assure the body the bill would actually create jobs. Some Democrats criticized the Republican majority, claiming Republicans shut them out of debate and wouldn’t allow Democratic amendments to be offered.

Still, the bill passes on a 141-19 vote.

The main feature of the bill is expanding the Quality Jobs program, credited with creating 22,000 jobs the past few years.

Rep. Ellen Brandom (R-Sikeston) says the program lured a distribution center from Tennessee to southeast Missouri, creating 350 new jobs for the unemployed there. She says unemployed workers in southeast Missouri cannot wait for the center to open.

The bill now moves to the Senate. It is hoped to complete work on the bill well before spring break in March, the target date given the legislature by Governor Nixon. 

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)