St. Louis Public Radio News
6:15 am
Mon July 14, 2008

Bombardier chooses Canada over Missouri

Jefferson City, MO – A Canadian aircraft manufacturer has decided NOT to build a new plant in Missouri, opting to build in its home country instead.

Governor Matt Blunt had signed a bill, supported by both political parties, which would have given Bombardier Aerospace up to $240 million in state tax breaks to build an aircraft plant at Kansas City International Airport.

Greg Steinhoff, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, says, though, the legislation authorizing the tax credits will help the state land other major contracts.

"When the state of Missouri passed (the) mega projects legislation, it was noticed by site location consultants and location representatives from different companies from around the world...we have actually already seen the benefit...there's a consultant that was involved with this Bombardier project that we're going to have an announcement (with) in southeast Missouri of several hundred jobs," Steinhoff said.

Some lawmakers had opposed the deal, saying the state should have awarded the tax breaks to small business owners in Missouri.

Amy Blouin, Executive Director of the Missouri Budget Project, says now is not the time to be giving away multiple millions of dollars in tax breaks.

"We have doubled our tax credits in the last 10 years, we're very concerned that our revenue situation and outlook is not good...we are seeing a transportation funding cliff ahead, we are seeing a general revenue funding shortfall," Blouin said.

Blouin also says Missouri needs to fully evaluate and revamp its tax policy.