August 22, 2011

Governor Nixon calls special session of General Assembly to create jobs, ensure continued fiscal discipline

Priorities for special session are passing comprehensive jobs package,
reforming tax credit programs to ensure continued fiscal discipline

JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Jay Nixon today called a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to pass a bipartisan jobs package that will foster growth in science and technology industries and expand Missouri exports, along with passing tax credit reform legislation to pay for these additional investments and ensure continued fiscal responsibility.  The special session will begin Sept. 6. 

Gov. Nixon emphasized the importance of accomplishing these priorities as efficiently and effectively as possible to limit the cost of the special session for taxpayers.

“Creating jobs and helping Missouri businesses grow is the top priority for my administration, and we work tirelessly each and every day to do just that,” Gov. Nixon said.  “Because of our relentless efforts, Missouri’s unemployment rate is dropping, we’ve maintained a spotless AAA credit rating, and we’re one of the best states in the nation for business.  Passing this bipartisan jobs package will help us continue to move Missouri’s economy forward and create good jobs for folks all across our state.  I appreciate the work the General Assembly has already done to achieve broad consensus on these priorities, and I look forward to continuing to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle during an efficient, focused and productive session.”

The Governor’s call specifies a number of job-creation priorities the General Assembly will consider during the special session, including:

? Enacting the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) to encourage the growth of science and innovation businesses in the state;

? Enacting the Compete Missouri Initiative to provide additional incentives and benefits to attract and retain businesses, to streamline and update Missouri’s training programs, and to increase the efficiencies of the state’s business development incentives;

? Enacting legislation to increase exports and foreign trade through the development of an international air cargo hub at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport – a project with the potential to create thousands of construction jobs, and thousands of additional jobs once the hub is operational; and

? Enacting legislation to help construct and develop high-tech data centers.

While enacting these key jobs proposals is critical for continued economic growth in Missouri, Gov. Nixon also said the state must be able to pay for these additional investments, and tax credit reform legislation to ensure continued fiscal discipline must be passed.

“Unlike the folks in Washington, D.C., we balance our budgets here in Missouri each and every year,” Gov. Nixon said.  “We must protect Missouri’s spotless AAA bond rating and keep the state’s fiscal house in order.  That’s why comprehensive tax credit reform is essential.”

Gov. Nixon’s call asks the General Assembly to implement a comprehensive tax credit reform package that will modify or eliminate many tax credit programs that are not producing a substantial return on investment for Missouri taxpayers.  This package is largely based on the work of the expert Bipartisan Tax Credit Review Commission, which issued its final report in November 2010.

In addition to comprehensive tax credit reform, the call also includes provisions to increase the efficiency of the Missouri Department of Revenue’s collections operations, and to authorize a brief “tax amnesty” program in 2012.

Today, Gov. Nixon also reported that damage assessments and recovery efforts in communities affected by the numerous natural disasters this year are ongoing, including Joplin, southeast Missouri, northwest Missouri, Sedalia and St. Louis County.  Once the full extent of the damage is known, Gov. Nixon said he will work with the General Assembly to determine the most effective means of financing recovery and rebuilding efforts.

“Our commitment to the communities affected by tornadoes, floods and other disasters this year is clear: We will help you recover, and we will help you rebuild,” Gov. Nixon said.  “Before we can determine the best method to finance our recovery obligations, we must determine the full extent of the damage.  As we finalize our damage assessments along the Missouri River and in other communities, we will determine the most effective and comprehensive method to finance disaster recovery in every corner of Missouri.  I look forward to working with the General Assembly to make those critical financing decisions once we have completed the assessment process.”

Gov. Nixon will communicate with the General Assembly later this week to provide a detailed update on the status of these damage assessments.

In his call today, Gov. Nixon also asked the General Assembly to take up three additional proposals during the session:

? Enacting legislation moving Missouri’s Presidential primary to the first Tuesday after the first Monday in March of each Presidential election year;

? Enacting legislation authorizing the transition of governing the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department from a board of police commissioners to the City of St. Louis; and

? Authorizing tax credits to help attract amateur sporting events to Missouri.

Over the past several weeks, Gov. Nixon’s administration has worked closely with members of the General Assembly to finalize the language for the special session call to ensure that the session will be as efficient and effective as possible.

A copy of Gov. Nixon’s call for the special session is available here.