St. Louis Public Radio News
6:29 am
Fri May 15, 2009

Economic development bill still stalled in Mo. Senate

Jefferson City, MO – The final day of the 2009 Missouri legislative session has arrived, and one of Governor Jay Nixon's top priorities is no closer to passage than it was three months ago.

The Missouri Senate announced a tentative agreement on the economic development bill around 12:40 in the morning. Also known as the jobs bill, it has been under attack and the target of filibusters since it was passed by the Missouri House in early February.

Under the agreement, historic preservation tax credits would be capped at $140 million dollars for large projects, while projects costing $1.1 million or less would not be capped.

Supporters practically begged their fellow senators not to add any amendments, as it would endanger the bill's passage.

But an amendment was approved, followed by a motion to remove it that's still officially pending.

That prompted Majority Floor Leader Kevin Engler (R, Farmington) to adjourn for the night at 2:30AM.

"We're trying to walk on a razor blade right now, and maybe we can get (it) done, but it's not going to be an easy process," Engler said.

In addition, State Senator Wes Shoemeyer (D, Clarence) blasted the revised bill because it contains an extra $10 million in land assemblage tax credits for a controversial development in north St. Louis.

"Do you know how hard we fight in Agriculture, in our Department (of Agriculture), for $10 million? They would flip over, do backwards flips, and go 'bazonkos' if they got an extra $10 million!" Shoemeyer said.

The Missouri Senate is scheduled to reconvene at 10:00AM. The 2009 session ends at 6:00PM, with or without the jobs bill.