Governor Nixon says he’s pleased with the progress of the special legislative session, though the House has gone beyond the call he issued to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol.
Nixon says he appreciates the quick work of the House to approve the two bills he wants completed during this special session, even though the jobs bill has taken on extra baggage.
“We’re flexible to continue to negotiate inside the parameters,” Nixon says. “The bottom line is our eyes are on the prize here. Our eyes are on building the cars of the future. We think that Ford is making those decisions in the coming weeks to decide where they are going to do that. We want that to be in the state of Missouri. We think we have an opportunity to get that done if we get this measured passed.”
Nixon says time is of the essence if Missouri wants to keep the Claycomo plant in Kansas City at full production as well as keep its suppliers throughout the state in business. The House on Tuesday approved an economic development bill that would provide a tax break of up to $100 million to Ford to keep Claycomo humming. House members, though, added amendments to the bill. The House Economic Development Committee added a provision that would give tax breaks to companies seeking appropriate space to store computer data. During debate, the House agreed to an amendment that would extend the Homestead Preservation Tax Credit, a property tax break for the elderly.
Nixon says the House action goes beyond the call he issued for the special session. He believes the Senate will scale the bill back during debate on Thursday, though some senators favor the incentives for data storage. The House also approved a pension bill different from the version approved by the Senate during the regular session.
Nixon believes the House and Senate can reach a compromise on both that bill and the pension bill.
“Everybody knew that the House had some things they wanted to talk about. Everybody knows the Senate got some things they want to talk about. Everybody knew this was going to be a situation in which the House passes a version and the Senate passes a version,” according to Nixon. “Those versions will be merged in conference. I think the difference points here are relatively small.”
The House completed its work Tuesday and left for the Independence Day holiday weekend. It scheduled a technical session for Wednesday. If the Senate declines to accept the House bills, the two chambers likely will negotiate a compromise next week.
House leaders say they would like the governor to expand his call so that the data center tax breaks could be included. Nixon says that at this time he has no intention to expand his call.