The House version, HB 1455, will be carried by Representative Chuck Gatschenberger (R-Lake St. Louis). He says, “Those manufacturers of vehicles … they need brakes, they need windshields, they need trim, they need engines … and not all of those are built right there on that spot.”
Parts makers qualify under the proposal if the products they make are used by an automaker. Companies with at least half of their sales coming from parts used to modify vehicles can also qualify for incentives.
Gatschenberger says it offers two options to those companies. “One is if you employee five employees, you’re gonna get the same benefits with withholding the taxes that you pay from the state for the benefit of the company. The other aspect of it … there’s a lot of companies in this state that are not going to be able to employ five people but they can employ two people. If they do two people and $100,000 of investment in their business, they can fall under the same guidelines.”
Gatschenberger says it also includes some clawback provisions. “Let’s say they have those two people but they lay two other people off. Then they lose the benefit. It’s not the specific people that they hire, it’s the total number of people.”
The package increases the standard incentive period to five years, from the three found in the 2010 language. Companies would get a tax break equaling 5 percent of their new payroll if wages are at the average for the county, 5.5 percent for wages that are 120 percent of that average and 6 percent for wages at least 140 percent of the county average.
Gatschenberger notes the package opens up incentives to all auto manufacturers, not just Ford and General Motors, “So if Nissan thinks, ‘Hmm, we might want to put a plant somewhere but where are we going to put a plant,’ it’s making the carrot bigger and jucier.”
The Governor’s Office says the package boasts a lengthy list of bipartisan supporters. Also in the House are Speaker Steven Tilley (R-Perryville), Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones (R-Eureka), Jerry Nolte (R-Gladstone), Minority Leader Mike Talboy (D-Kansas City), Assistant Minority Floor Leader Tishaura Jones (D-St. Louis), Minority Whip Mike Colona (D-St. Louis), Representative Stephen Webber (D-Columbia) and Representative Bert Atkins (D-Florrisant). Senator Kevin Engler (R-Farmington) is sponsoring the Senate version, SB 691 with Minority Floor Leader Senator Victor Callahan (D-Independence) a co-sponsor.