A special session of the legislature is underway at the State Capitol and all eyes will be on the House and what it does with a proposal to overhaul the state worker pension system.
House Economic Development Committee Chairman Tim Flook, a Republican from Liberty, sees no problem in passing tax incentives to keep the Ford Claycomo plant at full production, the main subject of the special session. The problem is that bill has been linked with the pension overhaul bill.
“I think that the proponents of the pension reform (bill) are so serious about it, that they want their pension bill and they’re willing to kill or stop unrelated legislation to do it,” Flook says.
Flook points out that the tax break for auto manufacturers and their suppliers has broad, bi-partisan support in the House. It passed the House easily, in different forms, during the regular session. Flook expects it to win easy passage in the special session.
It might seem too simplistic, but the special legislative session called by Governor Nixon comes down to what the House does with a proposal to overhaul the state worker pension system. The House was lukewarm, at best, to the bill during the regular session that ended May 14th. In fact, an attempt to coordinate passage of the bills in the Senate and House chambers on the final day of the regular session fell through the last hour of the session. The Senate refused to approve tax breaks for manufacturers, including Ford Motor Company, unless the House approved its pension bill. The House never took up the bill. The Senate never acted on the Ford bill.
Flook says enough might have changed since then to make that exchange work in the special session.
“I think there is a good chance of it passing, but there are complications that, unlike the Ford bill, where the bill itself has for the most part been really hashed out,” says Flook.
House committees hear the two bills Monday. Debate on the House floor has been scheduled for Tuesday.
The pension bill is HB1.
The manufacturers tax incentive bill is HB2.