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GM workforce, incentive ‘vehicle’ causes strife in General Assembly

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Officials from General Motors find provisions in a scaled-back incentive package unworkable, sources have told the Missouri Times.

Individuals who have met with Generals Motors officials say the automobile manufacturer is not satisfied with what is included in the so-called “GM Light” plan.

Last week, a plan was rolled out — and attached to SB 68 — designed to lure a $1 billion expansion of General Motors’ Wentzville plant. The original plan included the Missouri Works – Deal Closing Fund, Fast Track, Missouri One Start, and tax credits.

A scaled-back version was introduced Monday and added onto SB 184, only including Missouri One Start and a renewal of the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act with increased restrictions.

There were also multiple language differences between the two bills. The amended version of the plan locked the company into a two-year investment plan instead of a three-year plan and prohibited the company from coupling any incentives with others it could potentially be eligible for.

While members of the Senate Conservative Caucus have derided the amended SB 68, specifically taking umbrage with the closing fund and Fast Track, those lawmakers softened on the latest proposal. The caucus held up the approval of the journal — an otherwise mundane activity — to protest SB 68.

Sen. Bob Onder encouraged the upper chamber to bring up the latest bill and teased a quick passage that would give the governor a “win.”

“There is a vehicle by which we can get the GM bill done,” said Onder during the conservative-led filibuster.

But Floor Leader Caleb Rowden called some of the changes “irresponsible.”

At the beginning of May, officials from Generals Motors met with Gov. Mike Parson and other state leaders to begin preliminary talks about a potential $1 billion expansion at its Wentzville plant — though Missouri is not the only state under consideration for the investment.

General Motors Wentzville Assembly has been operating since 1983 and employs roughly 4,600 hourly and salary employees who work over three shifts. The plant is situated on 438 acres of land in a former wheat field about 40 miles west of St. Louis in Wentzville.