The House Speaker says he expects to see the jobs bill return to his chamber and expects he won’t care much for some of the changes the Senate will make.
A significant number of senators have stalled the jobs bill, hung up on the proper role of tax credits.
House Speaker Ron Richard (R-Joplin) says he’s doing his best to keep up with the changes in the Senate.
"I can’t keep track, there are too many substitutes," Richard tells reporters. "All I say is I will have the last word on tax credits."
The House approved HB 191 February 5th on a 141 to 19 vote. The action early in the session displayed a desire to help the ailing state economy. Governor Nixon had requested the legislature approved a jobs bill by the spring break. The bill immediately bogged down in the Senate and soon everyone at the Capitol abandoned any hope for early passage. The Senate has debated the bill a number of times, but hasn’t taken a vote.
The main feature of the House bill is an enhancement of the Quality Jobs Program, the state’s premiere job creation program. Yet, it also includes tax credits, such as the historic tax credit used to renovate older buildings and homes.
Some senators have suggested an annual cap on the historic tax credit ranging from $50 million to $100 million a year.
"That doesn’t work. It ends the program," Richard says. "I will not accept anything under $150 million, whatsoever, unequivocally."
Richard says the caps the Senate is considering would make the program ineffective.
"Killing a program that now has begun to work in cities like Springfield, Joplin, Carthage and Neosho that started in St. Louis and Kansas City is not in the best interest of these communities," says Richard.
Once the Senate can reach agreement on a version, negotiations with the House can begin.