St. Louis Public Radio News
8:23 am
Thu April 9, 2009

Another late-night filibuster in the Missouri Senate

Jefferson City, Mo. – For the fifth time in two months, the Missouri Senate has failed to pass a major economic development bill favored by Governor Jay Nixon.

The bill would expand the Quality Jobs program and place caps on most of the state's tax credits.

The Senate adjourned early Thursday morning after 10 hours of debate.

Republican Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau is leading a filibuster. He said tax breaks should be subject to legislative oversight because the amount of revenue Missouri takes in changes every year.

"I may very well want to spend $200 million on historic preservation in any given year, but I don't want that to be dictated or not dictated based upon a cap," Crowell said. "I want it to go through an appropriations process."

But the bill's supporters - including many Republicans -- fear limiting tax credits could harm the state's economy.

Sen. John Griesheimer, also a Republican, is the bill's primary handler. He withdrew the bill, but had harsh words for its opponents.

"A tyranny of the minority is not going to control this chamber, not now, not next year, not the year after that, as far as I can help it!" Griesheimer said. "I am going to do everything I can to make sure that doesn't happen!"

Time could also become an issue. There are about five weeks left in the 2009 session.