Nixon outlines plan to create new jobs in Missouri

Monday, December 22, 2008 | 12:25 p.m. CST; updated 12:37 p.m. CST, Monday, December 22, 2008

FLORISSANT — Gov.-elect Jay Nixon on Monday outlined his plan to create jobs and support the growth of small businesses.

Nixon released details of his Show Me JOBS economic plan during a stop in Kansas City. He also planned an appearance later Monday at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley.

Nixon, a Democrat, said the plan is part of a bipartisan effort to improve Missouri's economy. It is aimed at creating new jobs by supporting small business development and providing incentives for worker training and retraining. It also seeks to bring next-generation automotive jobs to Missouri.

Nixon defeated Republican Kenny Hulshof in the November election, and takes office Jan. 12.

"During these difficult economic times, we must come together, across party lines, to get Missourians working," Nixon said.

"By working together, we'll create new jobs, support small-business growth and foster the high-tech, high-paying industries of the future here in Missouri," Nixon said.

Other legislative leaders also have called for job creation as a way to help Missourians escape the economic doldrums. Last week, incoming House Speaker Ron Richard, a Republican from Joplin, outlined his own "family recovery plan" that focused on job creation, property taxes and raising the standard of living for Missourians.

And Senate Majority Leader Charlie Shields, a Republican, said the Senate is committed to working with Nixon on job-creating legislation.

Nixon's plan calls for providing low-interest loans, especially to small businesses, through the Missouri Development Finance Board. Funding would come from the 4 percent fee collected on all MDFB tax credits.

Nixon also wants to expand the Missouri Quality Jobs Program, which he said has created jobs with above-average wages and health care benefits.

The plan would create incentives for training that would make employers eligible for tax credits to offset part of the training costs for full-time employees. That training would include tuition at a community college or vocational school. The employer would be reimbursed after the employee reaches the second anniversary with the company.

The Nixon plan would establish an Automotive Manufacturing Task Force. The economic crisis has hit the auto industry particularly hard and cost thousands of Missourians their jobs at plants in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas. Nixon said the goal of the task force is to prepare the state's workers to be at the forefront of producing high-tech, fuel-efficient vehicles.

The current Missouri BUILD Program provides tax credits to help larger businesses expand and create jobs. But under the current program, they must first solicit economic development proposals from other states before becoming eligible for incentives in Missouri. Nixon wants to give the state's economic development director discretion to waive that requirement on a case-by-case basis.

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