A state representative has written Governor Nixon, requesting a special session to re-consider an incentive package aimed at keeping full production at the Ford plant in Kansas City.
A proposed deal to win approval of the Manufacturing Jobs Act collapsed in the last hour of the legislative session. The act was attached to several pieces of legislation. Nolte held out the most hope for SB 773, which could have been approved by the Senate and sent to the governor. The Senate, though, resisted. Then, the Senate tied passage of that legislation with approval in the House of the pension overall bill. This time, the House resisted. The deal fell through.
Representative Jerry Nolte of Gladstone doesn’t want to see the idea die.
“What I’m asking the governor to do is to call a special session so we could re-consider some of the economic, job-creating legislation that we were unable to get passed, more specifically the Manufacturing Jobs Act,” Nolte tells the Missourinet in a telephone interview.
Ford employs 3,700 workers at its Claycomo Plant, making the F-150 pick-up and the Ford Escape. The Escape line will end soon. Other states hope to lure production of its successor away from Missouri. Nolte says Missouri is at a disadvantage in competing with states such as Kentucky and Michigan, which have both made pitches to Ford.
The House approved the Manufacturing Jobs Act as HB 1675 in February. It would allow manufacturers and their suppliers to keep a percentage of their withholding taxes. To qualify, the business would have to make at least a $100,000 capital investment per full-time employee to make a new product. Suppliers could even qualify for a sweeter tax break.
Nolte worries that losing one production line could be the beginning of the end at Claycomo.
“Then I think we run the distinct risk of having it just spiral down until at some point, in the relatively near future, we may well not see production there again,” Nolte says. “While that is speculative, I don’t think it is alarmist or outside the realm of possibility.”
The tax incentive would apply to more than Ford, though Nolte says the urgency in calling a special session is driven by Ford. He says an executive decision likely will be made this year, well before the legislature re-convenes in January.