Rural business owners often can’t find investment capital to start up or expand their companies. A bill sponsored by Sen. Justin Brown would implement a new tax credit to help address this problem, which is holding back the economic potential of rural communities across Missouri.
Senate Bill 477 is designed to enable the creation of new jobs in these areas and, in addition to supporting rural companies, over time would generate more income tax and sales tax revenue from the new jobs than the original amount of tax credits awarded, resulting in a net gain for the state. The bill also contains claw back measures to protect taxpayer dollars.
During a Senate committee hearing on April 2, Brown, a Republican from Rolla, said the bill “really strikes home.”
“I have constituents in the building today that are S&T graduates. They range anywhere from mechanical engineers to aerospace engineers and have companies right now in Phelps County. And they have told me, ‘We really want to stay in this community.’ They love it. But it’s always been the fight of, how do we get them the money they need to be able to keep and grow their businesses in our communities?” Brown said. “This is a bill that will allow that to happen.”
Advantage Capital, an investment firm that focuses on underserved rural areas in Missouri, praised the bill.
“In many instances, small business owners are unable to secure the financing their business needs to buy a new piece of equipment, add additional employees, or build out a new facility,” said Chloe Coniaris, an associate at Advantage Capital. “In [Advantage Capital’s] 27 years of experience, we have seen firsthand how investing in rural communities — where historically a meager one percent of all private investment has gone — can change outcomes and outlooks not just for small businesses but also for everyday citizens.”
This Rural Workforce Development Act aligns with the recommendations in the Missouri Chamber Foundation’s Workforce2030 Report, which found that the state’s rural areas in particular are still struggling to return to pre-recession job levels.
The Missouri Chamber testified in favor of the bill and will continue to support it as it advances.
The House version of this measure is HB 1236, sponsored by Assistant Majority Floor Leader Rep. J. Eggleston. In March, this bill was passed out of House committee and is now waiting to be considered on the House floor.