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July 19, 2010
After three weeks, Special Session has come to an end. In late June, the Governor called us back to the building for furthered debate of the Manufacturing Jobs Act and a bill that would make changes to state employee pension.
The House got to work immediately and convened for a one day session, pushing both bills out the door to the Senate. Although the Senate sent the pension bill to us in a timely manner, they sat on the Manufacturing Jobs Act for quite some time.
On Wednesday, the Senate finally passed the bill and sent it back to us. That same day, we truly agreed to both bills and they are now on the Governor’s desk for approval.
Manufacturing Jobs Act
Tax incentives have been a proven-effective way to create jobs in Missouri. Through the Manufacturing Jobs Act, auto manufacturing companies are able to keep half of the withholding taxes for each full time employee, but only if that company continues to make investments in their infrastructure. Qualified companies must make a $75,000 investment per employee to take advantage of these benefits.
One of the prime intentions of the legislation is to allow the Ford plant in Liberty to continue operation and build the facilities for a new line of automobiles. This plant employs several hundreds of Missourians and it would do significant harm to our unemployment rate if Ford chose to leave the state. It is our hope that through the Manufacturing Jobs Act, they will leave their doors open and continue to add to Missouri’s rich economic environment.
The Governor chose to tie the state pension reform bill to the jobs bill for Special Session. Although I don’t believe these pieces of legislation are co-dependent, we answered the Governor’s call and passed the legislation.
This bill changes the requirements for new state employees hired after January 1st, 2011. These new employees will be required to contribute 4% of their salary to their own pension fund, instead of the state paying it for them- which is the current process. According to this legislation, 10 years of employment with the state is required before the employee can become vested in their retirement.
Further, to be eligible for normal retirement under this plan, employees must reach age sixty-seven and complete at least 10 years of service or reach age fifty-five with the sum of the employee’s age and service equaling at least ninety.
“Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women.”
– Ronald Reagan
In light of our economy and the serious condition of our state budget, the House worked swiftly so that no more tax dollars than absolutely necessary would be spent on Special Session.
Even though both of the bills were voted truly agreed and passed by the House, I did not vote in favor of either of these bills because I did not think they would have been beneficial or in the best interest of the people in Wright and Douglas counties.
Special Session has now adjourned and I look forward to coming back to the building for Veto Session in the fall.
As always I am honored to have the opportunity to be your voice in Jefferson City.
If there is anything I can do to help you please give me a call at the office at 573-751-2205 or email me at Tony.Dugger@house.mo.gov. 201 W. Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101, is my office address; please feel free to send me a letter. My home phone number is 417-746-4650.