By Bill White
Special to The Globe
JOPLIN, Mo. —
The Globe’s editorial in “Our View” (May 10) may have left readers with a few inaccurate impressions.
First, the Missouri Quality Jobs Act is already law and has been for years. My amendment simply adds another section to a long list of industries or activities described under the title. There is no risk to any program covered by the act. The amendment has its own funding cap ($3 million) and does not interfere with other programs. The credit is based on the manufacturer creating jobs at 120 percent of the average county wage, which is a little over $34,000 in Jasper and Newton counties, so we are talking about jobs with an annual salary of over $40,000. For a company to take advantage of the credit, it must keep the employee for an entire year. The company then gets to keep the withholding tax for that employee for each year that it keeps the employee for up to three years. The program sunsets at the end of six years.
The underlying bill (HB630) that my amendment was attached to modifies the Manufacturing Jobs Act by extending its coverage from just automobile manufacturers to include most other manufacturers and by increasing the cap on that program from $15 million to $60 million.
My tax credit amendment was proposed as a result of other states passing laws that were unfavorable to their domestic firearms, ammunition and parts industries to the point that the industries expressed in the media that they were either going to leave their state or were considering leaving their state. States like Texas, Kansas, Wyoming and New Hampshire have been seeking out businesses, including firearms manufacturers, to move to their state. Most of these states have labor laws and a tax structure much more attractive to businesses than ours. This tax credit is about bringing good-paying jobs to Missouri by going after companies that want to locate to a state whose people and laws are not hostile to their industry. It illustrates that we are not only not hostile but are supportive and encouraging of their endeavors.
Like the Globe’s editorial staff, I also support tax credits for low-income housing in Joplin and elsewhere in the state. My support for low-income housing tax credits, however, is not based on the economic impact to state revenue, which the Department of Economic Development’s 2012 analysis placed at 11 cents per dollar spent over the past 15 years. My support is based on the reality that the truly needy of our residents cannot find an affordable place to live. Both good-paying jobs and adequate housing are necessary to improve the quality of life in Missouri. I will continue to propose and support legislation to achieve that goal.
Rep. Bill White