Quick action this legislative session has moved a jobs creation bill from the House to the Senate. More legislation to help the state economy is coming.

Difficult economic times have spurred the quick action to approve tax breaks for businesses which create and retain jobs. The House took the unusual step of bringing HB191 to the floor for debate the first week of February, then rushed the bill for final approval on Thursday before members left for the week.

The bill now heads to the Senate on the strength of a 141-19 vote.

Though the main feature of the bill is the expansion of the Quality Jobs program, the state premiere economic development program, it also contains provisions to encourage the growth of small businesses and stimulate entrepreneurial activity. It attempts to touch both the troubled downtowns and the job-starved rural areas of the state. A portion of the bill encourages creation of life-science and other research parks, located near the state’s research universities.

Sponsor Tim Flook (R-Liberty) says the bill is the first of a three-prong approach. Next will be job training, then a long, hard look at tax credit programs to evaluate their effectiveness.

The job training bill, HB190 , might satisfy House Democrats, some of whom grumbled during debate on the jobs creation bill. Majority Republicans ruled many of their proposed amendments out of order, spurring some Democrats to charge that the majority shut them out of debate and kept their ideas from being fully aired. Flook says some of the proposed amendments will fit better in the job training bill.

The third aspect of economic development Flook plans to bring to the House floor is what he promises to be a cold, hard look at the state’s existing tax credit programs to fully evaluate their effectiveness.

The failing economy dictates the pace of this legislation says Flook, who adds that Republicans must work with Democrats and the legislature with the governor’s office to cure the ills of the state economy. 

Governor Nixon asked legislators during the State of the State address to have a jobs creation bill on his desk prior to leaving the Capitol for their annual spring break in March. The jobs creation bill now heads to the Senate with plenty of time to meet the governor’s deadline.

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (:60 MP3)