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Plan to add certain military jobs to Missouri Works Program gets another try in Senate

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — A plan to allow certain military projects to qualify under the Missouri Works Program is getting another try in the legislature. 

SB 2, from GOP Sen. Dan Hegeman, unanimously passed out of the Senate Seniors, Families, Veterans & Military Affairs Committee Wednesday morning. It allows tax credits to be awarded for certain military projects based on part-time and full-time civilian and military jobs created by the project. 

During Wednesday’s committee hearing, Hegeman said this change would greatly impact the 139th Airlift Wing in St. Joseph, bringing about 106 positions to the base. Only seven would be full-time jobs, but Hegeman said the people working in the part-time positions would also likely maintain full-time positions elsewhere in the community. 

Proponents also said this legislation would make Missouri look better in applications to the Air Force secretary.

Housed under the Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Works Program assists businesses through tax credits or withholdings in order to promote expansion, job creation, and equipment purchases. 

SB 2 passed 6-0 out of committee on the same day it was heard. 

The legislation is similar to a larger bill vetoed by Gov. Mike Parson last year, but the hope among supporters is that the governor will sign this standalone provision this go-round. 

Parson nixed SB 718 in July, legislation that was then sponsored by Sen. Bill White and included a variety of provisions on military service members and families, including the creation of a program to assist with legal counsel and the inclusion of surviving spouses in the merit system. 

In his veto letter, Parson said the bill would have required a constitutional amendment in order to create a new department, known as the Department of Military Forces, given that the constitution allows for 15 state departments. 

But he also expressed concern at the time over the allowance of part-time jobs in the Missouri Works Program. 

“One of the primary goals of economic development incentive programs is to provide meaningful and gainful employment to citizens, and to encourage and support full-time positions that benefit families for the long-term,” Parson said “Inclusion of part-time jobs without further requirements or definitions adversely impacts and dilutes these existing programs.” 

A spokeswoman for the governor said he will “carefully review the bill once it reaches his desk.”