GOP Floor Leader Kevin Engler believes the Senate may not reach a compromise on legislation to expand tax incentives for businesses until the upper chamber faces the pressure that comes with the end of the legislative session.
"If we don't get these done in two to three weeks, we're ok. It's still possible to get them done," said Sen. Engler, referring to stimulus funding, the Ameren nuclear plant bill and the economic development legislation as three items that will take up the most time and fuel the most contentious debate during the last month of the session.
*5 weeks remain in the legislative session. It ends May 15th*
On Wednesday, the Senate debated Governor Jay Nixon's top economic priority for more than 10 hours without reaching a compromise. Conservative Republicans want to reign in the tax credits doled out to businesses who set up shop in Missouri by installing a cap. A group of liberal Democrats have been filibustering the bill to prevent a credit cap that they argue would inhibit development and revitalization in urban areas. The House version of the bill would eliminate the current $60 million dollar cap on tax credits.
"I've never seen the same bill being filibustered on both sides of the aisle for opposite reasons," Engler said. "Some things have to be done under pressure. We're not near pressure time yet."
Engler defined "pressure time" as the final two weeks of the session. He said that's when outside influences will begin to take hold and pressure both sides to cut a deal.
"You'll get groups to tell their side, 'you've got to give some reforms,' so we can keep our program or get our bill," Engler explained.
The earliest the Senate will take up the economic development bill again will be in two weeks. Next week's debate will be entirely focused on the 2010 budget.