The Missouri House Speaker expects the Legislature to unveil an incentives package for General Motors (GM) by next week, a package aimed at attracting a reported $1 billion expansion at the massive Wentzville plant.
The expansion package was first reported by the “St. Louis Post-Dispatch.” GM’s Wentzville plant produces vehicles such as the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon.
Wentzville is located on I-70 and is about 40 miles west of St. Louis.
GM’s website says the Wentzville plant is located in a former wheat field. It covers 438 acres and has about 4,600 employees that work over three shifts.
House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, told the Capitol Press Corps on Thursday that lawmakers received a “high-level overview” Thursday, including a short briefing with Governor Mike Parson (R). Speaker Haahr says lawmakers will work on the plan this weekend.
“The governor’s office is working with us on the possibility of some legislation,” Haahr says. “We’ll be working over the weekend to fine-tune that, and we’ll probably hopefully roll it out next week.”
Governor Parson says lawmakers must pass an incentives package in the next two weeks, to help land the project that other states are competing for.
Speaker Haahr tells Capitol reporters we’ll know the package’s cost by next week. He’s optimistic that lawmakers will approve an incentives package by the end of session, which is May 17.
“You know at this point we don’t believe a special (legislative) session is necessary. We still got two weeks of runway left to use,” says Haahr.
This is an issue that has bipartisan support in the Missouri House.
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, describes a possible expansion of the Wentzville plant as a “great opportunity for the state of Missouri.” Leader Quade also spoke to the Capitol Press Corps on Thursday, noting that she had just received a briefing from GM.
“I’m excited about the labor jobs that are going to come through with great pay and good benefits, and I’m excited to see how those negotiations work out,” Quade says.
While there aren’t a lot of details yet, Quade believes an expansion would also have a positive ripple impact on other Missouri manufacturers. She’s interested in seeing Governor Parson’s incentive proposal.
Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, says the expansion project would benefit the entire state.
“The only thing that was promised was we are going to do everything we can to make Missouri an attractive place for them (General Motors) to do business, from the governor, from the leadership of the House and the Senate, is to do that- is to make sure we’re putting our best foot forward so that we can try to make sure that they stay here, they invest here, and they continue to build on the operation they have,” Pro Tem Schatz told reporters Thursday.
The plant opened in 1983. The GM website notes the Wentzville plant was outfitted so it can produce both vans and mid-size trucks on a single line. The plant also has an on-site stamping facility that produces the majority of parts used in production of the Chevy Express and GMC Savana vans.
It’s a union plant. Wentzville is represented by United Auto Workers Local 2250.
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