Lawmakers weigh-in on upcoming special session

  

SAINT LOUIS, Mo. — Gov. Jay Nixon is likely going to call a special session of the Missouri legislature on Monday, Dec. 2 to consider a multi-billion dollar incentive package aimed at bringing production of Boeing’s 777X airliner to St. Louis, a high-ranking source in the Missouri legislature told The Missouri Times.

The source, who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations, said lawmakers are currently being asked to keep Monday and possibly Tuesday open next week as Nixon is seeking approval for a massive tax incentive plan aimed at bringing a new manufacturing operation to the state along with approximately 15,000 jobs. The plan would grant considerable tax breaks to Boeing but would only apply to the 777X project. Were it granted, Boeing would be able to apply their tax breaks to the large manufacturing plant and other related construction and development.

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The Missouri Times sought reactions from state lawmakers about the viability of a deal and the upcoming session.

“For the last 3 months all we have heard from the governor is how Missouri can’t accord to cut taxes for all citizens,” Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, said. “It’s not perplexing that we are now going into a special session that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to give tax breaks to one company, all of this before any dialogue with the legislature. If this is not handled carefully, we could see the same result as 2011.”

Sen. Brad Lager
Sen. Brad Lager

“We’re fooling ourselves if we think just throwing money at Boeing is going to bring production of the 777X to Missouri, considering they just walked away from an $8.7 billion incentive package in Washington,” Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Springfield, said.

“As a caucus, House Republicans will continue to support tax policies and incentives that will lead to solid job and economic growth much like the tax reduction bill we passed for all Missouri families, farmers and businesses that was vetoed by the governor just a few months ago,” House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said in a statement. “We trust that the governor will be much more willing to work with us rather than against us as we pursue this latest opportunity.”

“I believe there is a path to get this done in 24 hours if it is revenue neutral,” Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis County, said. “If this package consists of raising the cap on quality jobs and capping some other programs, then we can get this done.”