House ap­proves tax in­cen­tive for Clay­como plant

The Kansas City Star (Sunday) - - LOCAL - By JA­SON NOBLE

Re­form of Mis­souri state pen­sions also passes. Now it’s the Se­nate’s turn.

The Mis­souri House ad­vanced its ver­sions of spe­cial-ses­sion leg­is­la­tion on Tues­day but weighed down both bills with other mea­sures.

A tax-in­cen­tive bill for au­tomak­ers passed 125-19, while leg­is­la­tion re­form­ing state pen­sions passed 92-54.

But the cen­ter­piece tax­in­cen­tive leg­is­la­tion aimed at the Ford Mo­tor Co. and its Clay­como assem­bly plant picked up an­other un­re­lated mea­sure — one ex­tend­ing a prop­erty-tax credit for se­niors. That fol­lows a mea­sure added in com­mit­tee on Mon­day of­fer­ing tax breaks for com­puter data cen­ters that lo­cate in Mis­souri.

Both amend­ments ex­ceed the guide­lines set out by Gov. Jay Nixon when he called the spe­cial ses­sion and could ren­der the bill un­con­sti­tu­tional if passed in its cur­rent form.

“The call for this ex­tra­or­di­nary ses­sion was prop­erly and nar­rowly fo­cused to pass that leg­is­la­tion quickly and at min­i­mum cost to tax­pay­ers,” Nixon said in a state­ment. “It is im­por­tant for the House and Se­nate to act within the nar­row le­gal lim­its of the call, and I ex­pect that mem­bers of both For all pol­i­tics all the time, go to KansasCity.com and click on Prime Buzz.

cham­bers will stay fo­cused on our shared goal.”

Even with­out con­sti­tu­tional con­cerns, pas­sage of ad­di­tional mea­sures is un­cer­tain. Sen­a­tors showed lit­tle in­ter­est dur­ing the reg­u­lar ses­sion that ended last month in pass­ing other tax breaks and could scale back the bill to in­clude only in­cen­tives for au­tomak­ers.

“What­ever the House sends over will be con­fined to the ex- tent of gover­nor’s call when it leaves the Se­nate cham­ber,” said Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin En­gler.

The ses­sion’s other ma­jor bill re­forms the re­tire­ment sys­tem for state work­ers. The ver­sion passed by the House sets the re­tire­ment age at 65 for most em­ploy­ees, re­quires them to con­trib­ute 4 per­cent of their salaries to the pen­sion sys­tem, and al­lows them to vest their ben­e­fits af­ter five years of ser- vice.

The Se­nate ver­sion, mean­while, pushes re­tire­ment to age 67, al­lows vest­ing only af­ter 10 years and cre­ates a new in­vest­ment board for the re­tire­ment sys­tems cov­er­ing state work­ers, trans­porta­tion em­ploy­ees and the high­way pa­trol.

The gover­nor’s of­fice has es­ti­mated the spe­cial ses­sion will cost $125,000 per week. To reach Ja­son Noble, send e-mail to jno­ble@kc­star.com.

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