Governor Nixon is watching closely several pieces of legislation, but keeping his opinions close to the vest.
Nixon backs a request by a coalition of utilities for lawmakers to help it offset the cost of taking the first step toward the second nuclear power plant in the state. The utilities want the legislature to allow them to charge customers for the cost of obtaining an early site permit.
“We have seen good, solid progress on the issue to help us have a long-range plan to continue to be an energy exporter here in the Show-Me State and have cost-efficient power as we move into the future,” Nixon told reporters. “I’m confident the time the legislature spent on this in both the House and the Senate this early is a good omen for where this is going to go by the end of the session.”
Just getting the early site permit could cost up to $45 million dollars. The sticking point has been how best to pay for the Office of Public Counsel which represents consumers in utility rate cases. Nixon’s proposed solution hasn’t swayed opponents.
Nixon shies from offering an opinion on the state Senate’s vote to eliminate the corporate franchise tax.
“We’re working hard on a Compete Missouri plan to try to make sure we sharpen our economic development tools,” Nixon said. “That’s not a direct center-piece of that, but having a regulatory environment that keeps our taxes low is very important if we’re going to continue to have expanding business opportunities in Missouri.”
Nixon also won’t directly weigh in on proposals to change Proposition B, the anti-puppy mill measure approved by voters in November. He said he will observe what the legislature does, stating that it’s important to protect agriculture in the state while upholding the will of the people as expressed in November.