- Featured Stories
- Douglas County
- City of Ava
- General Interest
Economic Development Measure Moves Forward
Other than the budget, one of the most important pieces of legislation that we have been working on this year is a combination of economic development measures and tax credit reform. This week, the Senate gave initial approval to House Bill 116, which works to encourage companies to come to and invest in our state.
Tax credit reform is an issue I have discussed previously in my weekly column. Tax credits are a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax liability designed to encourage job creation and development. There are several tax credits used in the state that are not getting a good return on investment. It’s been clear for several years that without tax credit reform, the Senate would be unable to pass a substantive economic development package. I agree that it is important to review our entire tax credit system and see which of these programs are really valuable to our state, as well as which ones are not resulting in economic development. House Bill 116 goes through the many tax credit programs in the state and makes changes to bring many credits under control, saving Missouri taxpayers $1.5 billion over the next 15 years.
At the same time, HB 116 contains two major programs to improve our state’s economic future. In the past, I have discussed the Aerotropolis Trade Incentive and Tax Credit Act, which would work to make the St. Louis airport an international trade hub. The bill offers economic incentives to freight forwarders to encourage them to export out of Missouri. Another aspect of the legislation encourages companies that provide the infrastructure to establish international trade to build facilities near the airport. This is an important economic development tool for the entire state of Missouri. With much of Missouri’s trucking industry based out of Southwest Missouri and the prospect of having Missouri beef and poultry exported directly to Asia, this is an opportunity from which the entire state can benefit.
House Bill 116 also contains the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA). This provision would encourage science and technology companies, particularly those in agriculture biotechnology, to grow in our state. The measure allows the state to take in a small percentage of the growth in state revenue from a designated group of Missouri science and innovation companies and reinvest these funds to generate further economic growth in the science and innovation industry sectors. With Monsanto in St. Louis and research already being accomplished at Missouri State University, MOSIRA would give us the opportunity to grow in these fields. The legislation would spawn growth in areas with good paying jobs made possible out of the talent and assets we already have.
House Bill 116 has received first-round approval in the Senate. The bill needs final approval from the body before moving on to the House. The House will then have the option to accept the Senate version of the bill or meet in a conference committee to iron out the differences in the legislation.
Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients
This week, the Senate gave approval to a bill that would begin drug testing for recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits who are suspected of using drugs. The TANF Program provides cash assistance to families that are out of work.
House Bill 73 would require individuals receiving TANF benefits to submit to and pass a drug test to avoid losing payments, if there is reasonable cause to believe they are using drugs. If a person is found to be using drugs or refuses to be tested, they would be ineligible for TANF for a three-year period. This legislation makes sense and ensures that those receiving these benefits are not misusing them to support a drug habit. If the individual successfully completes an approved substance abuse treatment program and does not test positive for illegal use of a controlled substance in the six-month period beginning on the date the individual enters such treatment program, he or she could continue to receive TANF benefits.
If you have any questions or comments about this or any other matter regarding your state government, please feel free to contact me at (573) 751-1503; you are also welcome to e-mail me at email@example.com.