St. Louis Public Radio News
10:41 pm
Thu July 1, 2010

Mo. Senate drafts new auto incentives bill

Jefferson City, Mo. – Missouri Senate Leaders are bypassing a committee that's blocking legislation to provide auto incentives during the ongoing special session.

Chuck Purgason (R, Caulfield), chair of the Senate's Fiscal Oversight committee, is blocking a vote on the House bill that contains both incentives for Ford Motor Company and tax breaks for underground data centers. So Senate leaders have crafted a separate bill that excludes the data centers.

It's sponsored by State Senator Luann Ridgeway (R, Smithville).

"I've eliminated everything in my bill having to do with manufacturing that is not included in the governor's call, so we keep ourselves legal in that respect," Ridgeway said.

Because of the bill's smaller size, it won't have to go through Purgason's committee. He says Missouri should be giving incentives to small business owners instead.

"Right now, we're spending $700 million a year on tax credits, and we're looking at a billion-dollar (budget) shortfall, so we have some tough choices to make," Purgason said.

Purgason is also running for the U.S. Senate.

The Missouri Senate could take up Ridgeway's bill when members meet again next Thursday.