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Missouri special session over

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By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The special session of the Missouri General Assembly is over.

Both the House and Senate have passed bills to provide auto incentives and to revamp state pensions.

The pension bill requires newly-hired state workers to contribute four percent of their pay and be employed at least a decade to qualify for retirement benefits. It also raises the retirement age to 67. Exceptions will exist for state troopers and lawmakers.

Senate President Pro-tem Charlie Shields (R, St. Joseph) says the changes will help the state's ailing economy.

"In the end we'll save thousands of jobs and put us on the way to save $660 million (in) state resources that can be plowed into things that Missourians care about," Shields said.

The incentives bill will allow Ford Motor Company to keep $15 million a year in employee withholding taxes over a 10-year period, in an effort to keep the automaker from pulling out of Missouri. House Speaker Ron Richard (R, Joplin) says the incentives will benefit the entire state if Ford stays put.

"I've got two companies in Joplin that (are) tied to this," Richard said. "We've got four or five in Springfield and Nixa...(we have) one little company in El Dorado Springs that works on car cushions...there's about a hundred counties that have benefits to this."

The two bills now go to Governor Jay Nixon for his signature. He called for the special session after both measures failed to pass on the final day of the regular session.

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