Some of the language from bills in the 2011 special legislative session lives on in this session. Three such measures have been advanced out of the House Committee on Economic Development.
Representative Mike Leara (R-St. Louis) is supporting what he says was the best language to come out of that session, in the freight forwarders tax incentive. It would incent forwarders to take international cargo out of Lambert Airport in St. Louis, rather than other states. “There’s a huge amount leaving from Chicago. It’s very expensive, (there are a) lot of delays for both weather and traffic. This, we believe, is just enough to incentivize the freight forwarders to send it to our state to depart versus other states.” Leara says the language is good, but was buried by some of the things it was tied to in the special session.
At the Committee hearing Chip Casteel, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, said China is still working toward a goal of getting half of the freight it ships in-and-out of the United States onto its own jets. It’s at 12 percent of that freight so far, “so they’re looking for alternative places. They’re looking for additional hubs that aren’t congested. They’re looking for new approaches. Frankly, they were looking for the State of Missouri to make a commitment to back up this concept, and they still are.”
The incentives in Leara’s bill could total $60 million dollars over eight years. It would sunset in 2020, but could be extended at that time for another six years.
Leara says he does not oppose expanding the bill to also provide incentives for shipping in-and-out of Kansas City or the rest of the state.
2 bills sponsored by the same representative
Representative Jeanie Lauer (R-Blue Springs) is sponsoring two bills she says were lifted straight out of the special session’s Senate Bill 8.
HB 1244 would promote private-public partnerships to help support technology-based businesses. “This is specific to technology … because that’s the driving direction for the state of Missouri, is to help bring technology jobs into the state. We see that we are losing those not just to the Kansas side but we’re losing them to our southern states as well as our northern states.”
Another bill of Lauer’s, HB 1245, would use incentives from the Missouri Quality Jobs Act to retain jobs already in the state, either through withholding tax retention benefits or a tax credit.
She says the bill includes some taxpayer protections for both incentives. “Both of these avenues have performance measures attached to them and they both have clawbacks, so it certainly takes care of the many concerns that we have all had about companies coming in, getting initiatives, going under and then folks being left to hold the bag.”