Nixon, Mo. lawmakers reach tentative agreement
By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – A tentative agreement has been reached between Missouri Governor Jay Nixon and legislative leaders on wrapping up the special session.
If all goes according to plan, lawmakers will remove tax breaks for data storage centers from the auto incentives bill, and revamp state pensions without creating a new investment board.
Senate President Pro-Tem Charlie Shields (R, St. Joseph) is confident the special session will end next week.
"My hope is actually to have it wrapped up on Wednesday (July 14th), that we actually do some great work in terms of saving jobs in Missouri and creating some new jobs, and then begin the very serious work of reforming pensions in our state," Shields said.
In a statement, Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard (R, Joplin) described the negotiations as productive. But he's also holding off on calling House members back to the Capitol until he has "strong assurances" that the Senate will pass both bills.
Both the House and Senate versions of the pension bill would require future state workers to pay into their pension plans. The Senate version would also raise the retirement age for state workers from 65 to 67.
The auto incentives bill would provide $150 million in incentives to Ford Motor Company's plant in Claycomo, near Kansas City. That bill is still being blocked by a committee chaired by State Senator and U.S. Senate candidate Chuck Purgason (R, Caulfield).
Shields won't say if he's considering removing Purgason as committee chair, but did say he's exploring various options to move the bill forward.