The Missouri House voted Monday afternoon in Jefferson City to approve a second piece of legislation aimed at attracting a $1 billion expansion at the General Motors plant in Wentzville, and one also aimed at ending a Senate filibuster.

State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, speaks on the Missouri House floor on May 13, 2019 in Jefferson City (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

The House voted 114-31 to approve legislation from State Rep. Nick Schroer, R-O’Fallon, which does not include the Fast Track provision. Fast Track is a top priority of Governor Mike Parson (R), which allows Missourians to receive advanced training in high-demand areas.

“We did discuss including a provision in here which would ultimately not allow the tax credits to go into effect if the company fails to retain 90 percent of the amount of employees employed on the date of the execution,” Schroer says.

Removing Fast Track is aimed at attracting support from State Sens. Bob Onder, R-Lake St. Louis, and Bill Eigel, R-Weldon Spring. Neither senator want Fast Track attached to the GM bill.

Schroer, who also voted for the first bill on Thursday, tells House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon, the second bill is aimed at giving the Senate another option.

“You know it’s something that I think, not only your (the Wiemann legislative) district, my district, but I think everybody in the state will benefit if not only GM invests $1 billion, but we have programs out there such as the underlying bill,” says Schroer.

The underlying bill Representative Schroer refers to is sponsored by State Sen. Wayne Wallingford, R-Cape Girardeau. It would also allow the state Department of Economic Development (DED) to require a qualified business to repay benefits if the business fails to maintain the new or retained jobs, within five years of receiving approval of benefits.

Missouri House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann addresses House colleagues about GM on May 13, 2019 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Schroer and Pro Tem Wiemann’s revised GM version includes $50 million in tax credits for General Motors.

Schroer says the bill is an incentive package for anyone willing to invest in Missouri.

“Have them come talk to the Department of Economic Development, and I can guarantee you that they’re going to try to work something out. If you’re willing to invest $1 billion in our state, we’ll try to see what we can do to compete against these other states to ensure that’s here in the Show-Me,” Schroer says.

Meantime, a filibuster continues on this Tuesday morning in the Missouri Senate, after the House approved the second version, one that supporters hoped would prevent a filibuster.

Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, says GM supports the original version that was approved Thursday evening by the House by a 92-51 vote.

That version included a package that would give $5 million per year in tax credits over ten years to automakers that invest at least $750 million in plant upgrades, and would provide tax credits earlier in a business expansion. That version also includes Fast Track.

Pro Tem Schatz has refused to accept the second version, telling KMIZ Television in a Capitol hallway that “the Senate is not taking options at this point. We’re just not. No, we’re not taking options. We have the governor’s priorities (first version) and we’re not taking options at this point.”

DED Director Rob Dixon tweeted this weekend that he met with GM on April 25, and that the company asked for workforce and infrastructure support, and asked DED to advance the full legislative package, including Fast Track and what’s known as “Deal Closing.”

Dixon’s weekend tweets also note that no decision has been made by GM, and that Missouri can secure the long-term viability of the plant with the full legislation. Dixon also says the governor’s proposal benefits industries in all corners of Missouri.

Both House versions are aimed at landing the $1 billion expansion in Wentzville, one of Missouri’s fastest-growing cities.

The GM plant in Wentzville has about 4,600 employees.

According to documents provided by Governor Parson’s office, the upgrades to the plant would not immediately create new jobs but would ensure that production remains in Wentzville long-term. The documents also say GM has 178 suppliers across Missouri, with the broader impact of the plant supporting more than 12,200 jobs statewide.

The plant produces vehicles such as the GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado.

The 2019 legislative session ends on May 17.

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