Tuesday, February 17, 2009

House takes quick action to advance job creation efforts

By Dan Brown

State Representative

I am happy to report that we are continuing to move ahead of schedule. We have already passed a bill outlining economic development and growth which part of our key initiative, the Family Recovery Plan.

The current state of our economy demands us to work for immediate results in order to help get our citizens back to work and supporting their families. The legislation we passed provides a number of economic development tools that will create good-paying jobs and help us reinvigorate Missouri.

This legislation (House Bill 191) focuses primarily on expanding our Quality Jobs Program. Quality Jobs focuses on the creation of good-paying jobs that provide health insurance benefits to workers and their families. The program has been a resounding success since its 2005 launch and is responsible for creating more than 22,000 jobs since. Currently, there are caps on the amount of tax credits that can be offered to companies that create these jobs. The bill we passed lifts those caps and increases the amount of tax credits so that more projects can be approved and more jobs can be created. In order to receive the tax credits, companies must have the jobs in place. This is a results-driven program and the reward doesn’t come until we see progress. It creates a safety-net to ensure the program is beneficial to our citizens. We are confident that Quality Jobs will bring continued success and get Missourians working again. It has already brought $2.5 billion in new investment to our State and we look forward to significant growth in the next few years.

In addition to the Quality Jobs expansion, House Bill 191 provides significant incentives to small businesses looking to grow and expand. The bill also provides similar incentives to businesses not large enough to qualify for Quality Jobs credits. With this, smaller businesses will have the same advantages enjoyed by larger companies. The bill expands the cap on our New Markets Tax Credit that has helped channel more than $120 million in investments to small businesses in low-income, distressed communities all around the state. It raises the credit cap from $15 million to $27.5 million and pushes the sunset on the program from 2010 to 2012. Small Businesses are vital to Missouri’s economic growth and this will allow us to continue a proven program that has made a significant impact on these operations.

Finally, House Bill 191 places an emphasis on assisting start-up companies and helping our research and development community to grow and flourish. One part of the bill allows up to $5 million in tax credits each year. This encourages angel investors to help start-up companies expand into full-fledged businesses. Another portion of the bill provides the Missouri Department of Economic Development the ability to issue up to $10 million in tax credits each year to offset expenses related to scientific research and development in fields such as agricultural biotechnology and prescription pharmaceuticals. We believe the credits will strengthen our research community and help promote even more of the entrepreneurial ideas that so often come from our researchers. The Quality Jobs program has produced real results for businesses across our State and I believe that House Bill 191 works to ensure further prosperity for Missourians.

We had a lot of visitors this week and I would like to thank everyone who made the trip to Jefferson City. Groups visiting this week were: Members of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Phelps Regional Homecare, Dental Hygienists, Missouri Retired Teachers Association, Midwives, and Citizens for the Missouri Arts. We also had the pleasure of listening to the St. Louis Symphony in the Capitol Rotunda where Erica Westenberg, a student at Rolla High School performed in the violin section.

Remember, this is your State government. Help me keep it that way by keeping me informed. Please feel free to contact me at 573-751-5713 or by email at dan.brown@house.mo.gov.

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