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Officials looking at potential incentive package to win $1B GM expansion

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — 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.

Missouri is just one of several states competing for the potential investment. It is unclear which other locations are under consideration by General Motors.

“I am excited Missouri has a seat at the table to compete for a tremendous opportunity that would provide a boost to our state and our regional economy,” Parson told reporters. His comments came following “a very productive briefing with representatives from General Motors.”

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.

Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon said over the next few weeks they plan on working with leadership in Jefferson City to do “whatever it takes to get this done.”

But in order for Missouri to put its “best foot forward,” an incentive package may be necessary.

“As governor, I want to do all that I can do to put us in the best situation possible to attract this significant investment,” Parson said. “I think it’s the goals we’ve been talking about all along — we know where that infrastructure piece of legislation is, we know where the workforce development pieces are. It will take some new legislation to meet this, but I think we’re well prepared for that.”

Details on what an incentive package would look like are still being ironed out. Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr told reporters at a weekly press availability that they plan on working on it over the weekend.  

With just two weeks left in the regular session, it is getting down to the wire to introduce and pass legislation on the subject. Parson, Haahr, and Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz all said they feel there is enough time to get something completed.

“At this point, we do not believe a special session is necessary. We still have two weeks of runway left to use,” said Haahr. “The governor’s office is working with us on the possibility of some legislation. We will be working over the weekend to fine-tune that, and we hopefully will roll it out next week.”

When asked, House Minority Leader Crystal Quade said she is open to the conversation and does not want to draw a “hard line” on what an incentive should not include.

“Our commitment …  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,” said Schatz.