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Nixon comments on Mamtek hearings, MOSIRA lawsuit

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon

Governor Jay Nixon (D) says his administration wisely handled the vetting of a Los Angeles-based company that began building an artificial sweetener plant in Moberly, then pulled out after missing its bond payment to the small northeast Missouri town.

Moberly officials told a State House committee this week that the governor’s Department of Economic Development withheld emails from a DED consultant revealing that he could not verify whether Mamtek had a functioning plant in China.  Nixon did not address that accusation when talking with reporters today, but he did say no taxpayer dollars went to Mamtek.

“I think it’s very, very important for me and my Dept. of Economic Development to use taxpayer dollars wisely, which in this situation, by paying no benefits until jobs are created, I’m confident we did," Nixon said.

DED officials maintain that they shared their concerns with Moberly officials, even though they did not send them the email in question.  The chair of the House committee looking into Mamtek plans to conduct more hearings in January.

Governor Nixon also defended the MOSIRA bill he signed into law following the recent special legislative session.  A suit challenging the new law was filed Thursday in Jefferson City, stating that it is null and void because of a clause that required the passage of a tax credit bill.  House and Senate leaders deadlocked on that bill, however.  The governor says the MOSIRA law can be fixed when lawmakers return to the capitol next month.

“It’s a solid piece of legislation," Nixon said.  "I think that investing in science and technology of the future in this method is a smart economic development step for our state, and clearly the legislature could decouple and fix this very quickly and easily before the effective date in early February.”

The MOSIRA law creates a funding mechanism using revenues generated by a group of science and high-tech companies to lure more of them to Missouri and to encourage the ones already here to stay.  The plaintiffs, Missouri Right to Life and the Missouri Roundtable for Life, say the new law could allow state funds to be used for embryonic stem cell research.  

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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