Legislature works to extend popular business expansion incentives
With two of Missouri’s most popular, successful job-creation incentives set to expire next year, the Missouri legislature is working quickly to extend the programs through 2030.
Under existing state law, the Missouri Works and Missouri Works Job Training programs will end in 2019. That would be a major loss, as the programs are considered “our flagship economic development tool that we use in our toolbox,” said Sallie Hemenway, director of business and community services with the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
The Missouri Senate has already passed a bill to extend the programs. On March 13, the legislation, Senate Bill 549, was heard by a Missouri House committee. The bill was filed by Sen. Jay Wasson, a Republican from Nixa.
During the hearing, the economic development leader for Sedalia and Pettis County said the two programs have been very important for her community.
Jessica Craig said that the programs helped attract a recent $250 million investment by Nucor Corp. to build a rebar micro mill in Sedalia.
“These two programs were very key to securing that investment and bringing 250 new jobs to rural Missouri,” said Craig, the executive director of Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County and the president of the Missouri Economic Development Council.
Craig also said that the programs helped her community retain 500 jobs at the local Waterloo Industries manufacturing facility even as the company was closing plants elsewhere.
The Missouri Works program incentivizes job creation in Missouri by allowing companies to keep a portion of their withholding taxes for a set period of time. The Missouri Works Training program helps expanding businesses meet their workforce needs by offsetting training costs during times of expansion and growth.
Companies are only eligible to receive the credits if they meet job-creation benchmarks and thresholds. If employment wanes or comes in at less than expected, companies can lose access to the benefits.
Cerner, one of Missouri’s fastest growing companies, is currently using the programs as it expands in Kansas City. The company expects to hire 3,600 new employees over the next two years, according to Melissa Boyd, senior government strategist with Cerner.
Tyler Hobbs, a political analyst for the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, said his community commonly uses the programs.
“This tool is crucial for the growth of Missouri’s workforce,” he said.
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry testified in support of extending Missouri Works and Missouri Works Training.
“These programs have a track record of success across our state,” said Matt Panik, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs. “Allowing Missouri Works and Missouri Works Training to expire next year would be a mistake. The business community thanks the legislature for their work on this bill. We will continue to advocate for its passage as these programs keep Missouri in the game for job expansion and business investment.”