Aerotropolis
5:44 pm
Fri May 6, 2011

Nixon confident on Aerotropolis

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon says he's confident his office can reach agreement with state House and Senate members over a series of tax breaks - known as "Aerotropolis" - designed to boost St. Louis as a hub for Chinese cargo.

The versions approved by the House and Senate differ in size, but both offer assistance to companies hoping to build warehouses and other cargo facilities in selected regions of the St. Louis area. Both also provide tax breaks to encourage companies to move cargo through St. Louis.

Though Nixon has sought to clamp down on the use of tax credits, he says the China hub effort fits into his push to expand Missouri exports.

"You're going to have to make sure you have as much tie as necessary directly to the exports, and you're going to have to make sure there's net new job production," he said.

Lawmakers have until the end of next week to pass a bill, unless the governor calls for a special session. He did that last year to approve tax breaks that Ford said it needed to keep open a plant near Kansas City.

Nixon today repeated his plan to reduce the budget approved yesterday by lawmakers, saying it is about $30 million out of balance.

The governor did not specify where he plans to withhold spending, though he did complement the House and Senate for completing the budget on time.

Lawmakers, the governor said, did not incorporate the reduced revenue from the state franchise tax, which is being phased out. And he said they also need to keep in mind the need for emergency spending in southeast Missouri, which is coping with record flooding.

"The flooding of a significant portion of the breadbasket of America is something we've got to bounce back quickly, and we're going to have to expend some resources down there to assist those folks who are in shich dire need," he said.