Monday, December 22, 2008

Nixon To Establish Auto Task Force As Part of Jobs Plan

In Kansas City and St. Louis Monday, Governor-Elect Jay Nixon said he wants to provide low-interest loans to small businesses and use tax credits to help re-train employees in order to jump-start Missouri's slumping economy.

Nixon's release announcing his plan was notable for including comments from not only the top legislative leaders in his own party, but also Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields and Speaker-Elect Ron Richard.

The tenants of Nixon's plan include developing a loan program for small businesses that would be funded by the 4 percent fee currently collected on Missouri Development Finance Board tax credits. The MDFB is a Department of Economic Development tool designed to help fund projects that have a "high probability of success."

Nixon is also pledging to provide tax credits to employers to offset a portion of pre-employment training in order to make sure workers have "21st century knowledge and skills." An employer would be eligible for reimbursement once a trained employee had been on the job for two years.

The portion of the program that is getting the headline attention is Nixon's call to establish an Automotive Manufacturing Task Force. By executive order, Nixon will establish the task force to make sure that Missouri is part of the auto industry's push to make high-tech, full-efficient vehicles.

Nixon also seeks to waive a rule that requires large businesses to solicit economic development proposals from other states before being able to become eligible for a tax credit here.

In his release, Nixon did not specify the amount of jobs he hopes to create or the total cost of these initiatives.

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