Missouri Infrastructure Investment Act receives committee hearing

The Missouri Infrastructure Investment Act, one of Associated Industries of Missouri’s top legislative priorities, received a hearing this week from the House Economic Development, Business Attraction and Retention Committee.

House Bill 1389, sponsored by Rep. Nick King (R-Liberty) closely resembles 2010’s Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act which has energized the automotive manufacturing sector of the state’s economy.

The legislation is designed to provide economic incentives for businesses that pay better than average wages and offer better than average benefits than other businesses in their counties. These incentives have spurred growth at auto manufacturing plants such as Ford and General Motors, as well as smaller companies that supply parts for those plants.

The Act takes what is working in the automotive sector and spreads it to all fields of manufacturing in the state of Missouri.

“The incentives in this Act make Missouri a more attractive place for manufacturers to make infrastructure investments, invest in new products, or expand the manufacturing of existing products, and the benefits extend to their suppliers as well,” AIM president and CEO Ray McCarty told the committee. “This program differs from other economic development programs because nearly all other programs are based on new job creation, while this program rewards infrastructure investment which is critical for today’s successful manufacturing facility.”

McCarty and Associated Industries of Missouri were the authors of the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, and are once again heavily involved in the development of the legislation contained in HB 1389. Sponsor Rep. Nick King had provided each committee member with an analysis of the importance of manufacturing jobs in each of their districts.

Also among business organizations testifying in favor of the bill was Brad Jones, Missouri director of the National Federation for Independent Business, the state’s small business lobbying group. Jones told the committee that the suppliers for bigger manufacturers are very important in smaller communities and in many rural communities, a manufacturing plant may be the top employer, supporting salaries that ripple through the small businesses in that community. Jones said House Bill 1389 will allow those manufacturers to prosper and grow and the bill would also benefit those smaller businesses that are suppliers to larger manufacturers.

There were no groups testifying against the legislation. The committee did not take a vote on sending the bill forward. McCarty expects that vote to come within the next couple of weeks at the most.

In other action, the committee approved House Bill 2225, legislation that changes state law to allow the re-developers of the old Fenton Chrysler Plant in St. Louis County to receive credit for demolition costs when calculating eligibility for tax credits. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Mike Leara (R-St. Louis). The committee voted 8-0 to move that legislation forward.

The committee also passed an amendment to House Bill 1927, the Show Me Rural Jobs Act, and then voted to move the bill forward on a 7-1 vote. The amendment allows developers to qualify for the act even if they are doing mixed use developments. Rep. Craig Redmon (R-Canton) sponsors the legislation.

Also moving on by a vote of 7-0 was House Bill 2030, legislation sponsored by House Speaker Pro Rep. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg), that would authorize a tax deduction equal to fifty percent of the capital gain resulting from the sale of employer securities to a certain Missouri stock ownership plans.

In the House, each bill receives review by two committees, and the second committee is called a “select” committee. Both must approve a bill before it may be considered on the House floor. House Bills 2225, 1927 and 2030 now move on to the select committee stage of bill passage.