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Government, Politics & Issues

Nixon sounding optimistic on special session

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(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)
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Gov. Jay Nixon, shown here after his 2011 State of the State, is indicating he may call lawmakers back to Jefferson City for a special session on economic development.

Gov. Jay Nixon today indicated he may be ready to call the Missouri General Assembly back to Jefferson City to finish work on a stalled economic development bill.

The massive bill included $360 million in tax breaks to help Lambert Airport become a hub for Chinese cargo - the so-called "Aerotropolis" package.  An apparent deal on paying for the breaks got tangled up in a  House-Senate dispute.

The package is a high priority for economic development and elected officials in the St. Louis area, and they've been pushing Nixon hard to call a special session.

The governor won't call a special session without a consensus on the issue. But he said negotiations have gone well over the last five weeks.

"If folks are serious and roll up their sleeves, we might be able to get people to provide us some additional tools," Nixon said. "I think the ball was moved way down the field from where the beginning of session was.  If we continue to show good progress, I don't mind bringing my good friends in the Legislature back for a few days to get some real work done."

Nixon says he supports the new tax credits for Lambert - as long as others are cut to pay for them. That could mean breaks for historic rehabilitation and low-income housing - both of which are favorites of St. Louis city officials - could be reduced or capped.

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