A House Committee that was formed in the interim continues its work delving into the programs of the Department of Economic Development.

Chairman Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City)‘s Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability has reviewed a list of 91 projects that have received more than $1 million in state incentives over the last six years. Those projects have reported creating only about a fourth of the more than 20,000 jobs they projected.

The House Interim Committee on Government Oversight and Accountability hears testimony from three representatives of the Department of Economic Development.

Barnes says this raises questions about whether the Quality Jobs Program is performing as it should. “We have results in that show that it’s not doing as well as promised. Whether that means that it’s something that we need to shelve or not is a separate question, but we do know that it is not working as advertised.”

During a Committee hearing Monday afternoon, Barnes pressed DED Business and Community Services Division Director Sallie Hemenway and Legal Counsel Chris Pieper to assess whether the Mamtek project was considered a failure under the Quality Jobs Act. Their response was that projects have different thresholds for reporting job creation, and that Mamtek has not reached the deadline to report jobs created over two years.

It was unclear whether Mamtek submitted an annual report in September. Pieper explains, “If they didn’t submit the annual report with the requisite employment, which would have been one employee by that time, then they would not receive benefits under the Missouri Quality Jobs Program.”

Still, Barnes was frustrated that the DED representatives would not offer a final pronouncement of Mamtek. Upon Pieper re-iterating that Mamtek is not going to receive Quality Jobs benefits, Barnes told him, “It’s OK to say Mamtek’s a failure.”

Pieper responded, “Mamtek did not turn out as anyone would have anticipated.”

The Committee is next scheduled to meet January 19, and Barnes says some other key figures in the Mamtek project are expected to testify. That includes:

  • Michael Wise – patent attorney named in documents released by DED in December who claims to have been to a Mamtek plant in China
  • Tom Cunningham – Attorney for Moberly who received e-mail from Michael Wise about the status of the China plant
  • Tom Smith – business consultant who presented the project to the state and the Midwest U.S.-China Association