Will Missouri legislators get a chance for a do-over after having failed to pass legislation to help the Missouri side of the metro compete better against the Kansas side in attracting and retaining businesses?

Will Missouri legislators get a chance for a do-over after having failed to pass legislation to help the Missouri side of the metro compete better against the Kansas side in attracting and retaining businesses?

Maybe, some area lawmakers say.

House and Senate leaders were unable to find a compromise in the final days of their 2011 regular session, which ended May 13. The bill would have created tax incentives to help slow the migration of Missouri-side businesses to the west, but that issue got tangled up with discussions about how to rein in the state’s hundreds of millions of dollars in tax credits, chiefly for low-income housing and historic preservation. Legislative leaders were close to an agreement, local legislators said,

Also left on the table:

Legislation to ease the way for a second nuclear power plant in Callaway County.
  The “Aerotropolis” bill, with $360 million in tax credits to help turn Lambert-St. Louis International Airport into a cargo freight hub, focused on trade with China.
  Fixing the state’s nearly insolvent second-injury fund, which pays claims to those with existing injuries who then have another injury on the job.

The fund is about out of money, and the state has delayed paying new claims.

“The second-injury fund has to be dealt with,” said state Rep. Mike Cierpiot, R-Lee’s Summit.

 


What does this add up to?

“I think it means a special session,” said state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit.

Gov. Jay Nixon has publicly been cool to the idea. For one thing, legislators have a constitutionally set period of time – early January to mid-May – to get their work done, and the governor has indicated he doesn’t want to get in the habit of going into overtime.

Last year, the governor called a special session and got legislators to approve $100 million in tax breaks to entice Ford to keep its Claycomo plant going, paid for with changes to the state’s pension system. The governor said the Ford issue was more urgent and couldn’t wait until 2011. Ford later came through with a commitment to keep making vehicles at Claycomo.

Still, Kraus, Cierpiot and Rep. Noel Torpey, R-Independence, speaking after an Independence Chamber of Commerce gathering last Friday, indicated that if legislative leaders can work out a compromises on these issues, the governor might be convinced to change his mind.

“You know, I think there’s still hope with this bill,” Torpey said.