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Mo. auto task force holds 1st meeting

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – The task force appointed by Governor Jay Nixon to examine Missouri's automotive industry met for the first time today.

The Show-Me State's auto industry has taken a hit, with the closing of the Chrysler plant in Fenton and the decision of a Kansas City-area car battery maker to build its new plant in Michigan.

Marty Romitti with the state Economic Development department told task force members that Missouri is still a good place to build vehicles and components.

"We talk about how great our workforce is in the state...you know, we're within 500 miles of over 40 percent of the U.S. population, (and we have) almost 45 percent of all the manufacturing plants," Romitti said.

Governor Nixon says he also wants help from lawmakers.

"Losing Kokam to Michigan was not something, I think, that we wanted to see happen, and it especially was difficult not to have a jobs bill on my desk yet that could have added significantly to our opportunity to get them," Nixon said.

The jobs bill has been blocked by a group of senators who object to the amount of tax credits it contains.

The Automotive Jobs Task Force will study ways to retain auto industry jobs and draw new ones, and will issue a report to Governor Nixon at a later date.

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