Aerotropolis bill
9:55 pm
Wed April 20, 2011

Aerotropolis bill before Mo. Senate committee

After easily passing the House last week, a Missouri Senate committee is now considering a bill designed to make Lambert Airport an international air cargo hub.

The so-called Aerotropolis bill would provide around $480 million in tax credits to companies that develop air cargo facilities at or near Lambert.  Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge told the committee that the bill is about more than just doing business with China.

“We’ve heard it mentioned for a long time that it’s a China hub…it’s really not, it’s an international hub," Hamm-Niebruegge said.  "We focused on the Chinese as our first end, because if we can get them first, then the rest of the world opens up to us.”

Christine Harbin with the group Show-Me Institute testified against the bill, saying the amount of tax credits offered in the bill would result in the state having less revenue for schools, roads and bridges.

“Tax credits are real money, and they do not appear out of thin air, they come from the pockets of taxpayers," Harbin said.  "Unless every tax credit is offset by real spending cuts of the same amount, every dollar that the government spends on tax credits has to be raised through higher taxes, debt, or a reduction in services.”

The Senate Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government will vote on the bill at a later date.