News Tribune: House bill would boost business expansion incentives

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House bill would boost business expansion incentives

April 11, 2024 at 4:00 a.m.

by Cameron Gerber

Lawmakers are considering a bill advocates say could enhance a popular business incentive program.

House Bill 2479, sponsored by Hannibal Republican Rep. Louis Riggs, would remove the 2025 expiration date for Missouri Works, a tax credit program to incentivize job creation. The program aids businesses access capital through the retention of tax withholdings or credits for facility expansion, job creation and equipment purchases meant to maintain their presence in the Show Me State.

The bill would also extend refundable tax credits to qualified companies doing business in an advanced manufacturing zone or targeted industrial manufacturing enhancement zone, both of which are created by communities as hotbeds of economic development that are eligible to apply with the state for withholdings.

Finally, Riggs’ proposal would raise the cap on available tax credits and withholdings from $181 million. The bill would allow for an additional $10 million in credits for the competition of infrastructure projects and another $10 million for manufacturing capital investments.

“House Bill 2479 would combine the existing program caps, both tax withholdings and tax credits into one overall program cap, allowing the state flexibility when companies want to locate in an AIM or a TIME zone which cannot overlap,” Riggs told his colleagues on the House Economic Development Committee Wednesday morning.

Riggs said the move would come at no required additional cost to the state, given the additions are options that are up to the state to administer if the department sees fit.

The proposal received support from business groups and local advocates, including Jefferson City Regional Economic Partnership (JCREP) President and CEO Luke Holtschneider.

“Making some improvements to the existing toolset provides not just some enhanced use of the tool at the state level, but it also gives a local practitioner a lot more confidence and clarity on the existing toolset available to support economic development opportunities,” Holtschneider said.

Other witnesses — including Heidi Sutherland, the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Director of Legislative Affairs, and Lauren Musto of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce — also voiced their support.

Brian Grace of the Missouri Economic Development Council said he echoed the support of the other witnesses for a boost to the program.

“These are some of the most important tax incentive programs that the Department of Economic Development has to work with potential new employers, so we appreciate you adding some efficiency,” he told legislators.

The Missouri Works program has brought around 49,000 jobs to Missouri since it launched in 2018, according to Riggs, and brought in around $13 billion in business investments.

A similar bill on the other side of the Capitol from Sen. Jason Bean, R-Holcomb, received a hearing in the Senate last month, but has not yet been voted on.

The committee did not take action on the bill Wednesday.

Read the full document:

HB 2479:

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