The "Invest in Missouri" initiative, spearheaded by State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, has passed the House and Senate and now heads to Gov. Nixon to be signed into law.
"The passage of Invest in Missouri gives the state a strategic tool as we fight to turn the economy around," Zweifel says. "The expansion of the Missouri Linked Deposit Program is critical, and taxpayers will be getting a fair return on state deposits for the first time in more than half a century. This legislation costs Missourians nothing; in fact it will return $10 to $15 million per year on taxpayers’ investments when fully phased in."
Sen. David Pearce (R-Warrensburg) sponsored the legislation in the Senate.
"Missourians are hurting, and this is timely legislation to help rebuild the economy," Pearce says. "Invest in Missouri lets us move Missouri’s economy forward with the help of Republicans and Democrats."
The House sponsor was Rep. Tim Flook, (R-Liberty); Rep. Paul LeVota, (D-Independence) also campaigned for the legislation in March.
"Passing this bill is the right thing for taxpayers," Flook says. "Missourians are getting a fair shake on their investments now, and we are doing it all at no cost. This is good government."
Zweifel says, if approved by Nixon, the legislation will expand eligibility guidelines for the Missouri Linked Deposit Program. The Missouri Linked Deposit Program is designed to place state funds with community banks at below-market interest rates so the community bank can issue loans to borrowers at a reduced rate. Loan savings are usually 2 percent to 3 percent to the borrower. The program’s $720 million statutory cap is only about 30-percent utilized.
Expanded eligibility guidelines will open up the state’s small business, job creation, agriculture and alternative energy loan programs to more businesses and farmers, Zweifel says. Local government assistance linked deposits will also become available as part of the legislation.
Additionally, Invest in Missouri will phase out, over five years, the statutory interest rate cap that ties state time deposits to the return of short-term U.S. Treasury securities.
"That yield has been as low as 0.20 percent of late," Zweifel says. "Removing the restrictive cap will allow the state to receive a yield closer to the rates offered by banks to an individual, business or any other government entity in Missouri. The market rate currently is about 1.5 percent, resulting in increased returns to taxpayers of about $10 to $15 million per year once fully phased in by law."