Numerous tax breaks get OK from House

Thursday, April 17, 2008 | 4:44 p.m. CDT; updated 12:10 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — The House voted today to approve millions of dollars in tax breaks for investors, employers who pay for their workers' health care and developments near the Kansas City airport.

The bill removes the $40 million cap on tax credits offered under the Quality Jobs program. It also permits $5 million in tax credits for those who invest in technology-based start up companies.

Investors who contribute the first $500,000 used by new businesses to fund research would get tax credits worth 30 percent of the investment, or 40 percent if the business is in a rural area.

The House bill also creates a property tax break for businesses to develop near the Kansas City airport. It would apply to businesses that build a structure, deed it to the city and then lease it. Legislative staff estimate it would cost local governments about $4 million.

Sponsoring Rep. David Pearce, R-Warrensburg, said the tax incentives would encourage more economic activity in the state.

The airport portion would be a boost to an airplane maker considering whether to open an assembly plant in Kansas City. Rep. Tim Flook, R-Liberty, tacked that portion onto the bill earlier this week. He said it's not geared solely toward landing Bombardier Aerospace but would help the Montreal-based company.

Earlier this week, the House gave initial approval of a bill that would give Bombardier up to $40 million a year in tax breaks in an effort to land a $375 million assembly plant that eventually could employ up to 2,100 people.

Meanwhile today, the Senate defeated an effort to set aside $120 million for potential tax credits to lure the airplane maker to Kansas City.

Senators have also considered their own version of legislation expanding the state Quality Jobs program, to lift the cap from $40 million to $60 million. That program allows certain businesses to get tax credits they add jobs paying above average wages and cover at least half the employees' health insurance premiums.

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