The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Columns

August 28, 2011

Ron Richard, guest columnist: Partnership can spur recovery

— The tornado that ravaged Joplin and the flooding affecting Missouri River towns and businesses are both human and economic tragedies. Of course, our lost community members, friends and colleagues can never be replaced, and only time will diminish the pain. But the businesses, shops and dreams blown or washed away in 2011 can be rebuilt, reopened and re-imagined, given the right tools for success.

The more than 500 businesses based in Joplin alone will need tens of millions of dollars in private capital, commercial lending and other financial assistance in order to be revitalized. But how does a company that has lost all of its assets, inventory and machinery get a loan? Government cannot afford to rebuild every business, nor should it. But public-private partnerships can help fill this void — and these partnerships should be formed to deliver desperately needed financial assistance.

A similar scenario faced the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In response to this natural disaster, Congress acted in a bipartisan fashion to attract $1 billion of private capital that would allow local businesses to retool and rebuild through a highly regarded initiative known as the New Markets Tax Credit Program.

Rather than spend direct taxpayer dollars for these funds, the federal government tapped an incentive already on the books that required two private dollars to match every public dollar invested in the disaster area caused by Hurricane Katrina. According to the General Accounting Office, the incentive has resulted in $12 of private capital for every taxpayer dollar invested.

A parallel program exists today in Missouri. Since it was enacted in 2007 by Sen. Scott T. Rupp, R-St. Charles County, Missouri has seen more than $750 million in investments into small businesses from the state’s New Markets program. However, we must amend the current program to allow areas such as Joplin and flood-ravaged communities along the Missouri River to qualify. And we must do this immediately. This can be accomplished in the September special session that has been called by the governor, all while remaining revenue neutral and not creating a new tax credit program.

Encouraging public-private partnerships is a win-win for our region. Private investment dollars will be put to work more quickly, will be more targeted to business owners’ needs and will help our communities get back to work faster than relying solely on the federal government. We should utilize successful tools and proven concepts to attract capital and rebuild without delay.

The New Markets Tax Credit Program was the program chosen to help rebuild after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. The same already-existing mechanism can be used here in Missouri after our record number of devastating events. We urge all business owners affected by this year’s natural disasters to encourage the governor and lawmakers: Please include our storm and flood-ravaged areas as qualifying communities for the New Markets Tax Credit program.

Ron Richard is a state senator from Joplin and Scott Rupp is a state senator from St. Charles County. Both are Republicans.

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Tornado: Columns
  • Premier Turbines plant in Neosho to close, 80 jobs lost

    Premier Turbines will close its Neosho plant some time in early 2015.
    Chris Pratt, director of communications for Dallas Airmotive, which has owned the plant since 2003, said 80 jobs will be cut.

    June 26, 2014

  • Susan Redden: McCaskill praises Joplin cooperation

    At least two things she saw in Joplin need to be replicated in Washington, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said during a visit last week.
    A strong spirit of cooperation is driving Joplin’s rebuilding, she said. And,  the senator said there is a realization “that federal programs have a place.”

    August 28, 2011

  • Mark Rohr, guest columnist: Miracle of the human spirit ever-pervasive since tornado

    Monday marks 100 days since the worst tornado in our country in the past 70 years tore through our community, leaving lost lives and destroyed property in its wake. As I have said before, that fateful day in late May will be the defining moment in all of our lives whether we want it to be or not.

    August 28, 2011

  • Ron Richard, guest columnist: Partnership can spur recovery

    The tornado that ravaged Joplin and the flooding affecting Missouri River towns and businesses are both human and economic tragedies.

    August 28, 2011

  • Wally Kennedy: Flocks expected for Chick-fil-A opening

    The stocking of the Chick-fil-A restaurant at 2127 S. Range Line Road is under way in preparation for a grand reopening on Thursday. The restaurant was among 25 or so eateries on Main Street and Range Line Road that were destroyed by the May 22 tornado.

    August 27, 2011

  • Susan Redden: State officials argue about disaster money

    Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is under fire from two different fronts, both relating to plans for a special legislative session in which the Joplin tornado and its economic impact will most certainly be a topic.

    August 21, 2011

  • Wally Kennedy: Walgreen’s to reopen both stores Monday

    Monday will be a big day for two of the three stores that Walgreen’s operates in Joplin. The Walgreen’s at 20th and Main streets sustained significant damage on May 22. It was at the north edge of the tornado’s damage zone. It has had a major makeover.

    August 20, 2011

  • Aspen Bowman Roger Nomer: Image a ‘revelation’ for photographer

    The sky looked dark, but nothing more unusual than a typical springtime storm.
    I was on duty May 22 at the Globe, and had just finished taking photos of Joplin High School’s graduation when the storm sirens started to sound at Missouri Southern State University.

     

    August 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Jo Ellis: Small deeds will make a big impact

    A big, big thanks to all who have called, emailed or written to me saying they want to participate in Nature-Joplin (Nurture a Tree-Urban Reforestation Effort-Joplin) to help Joplin recover from the May 22 tornado that scoured the landscape.

    August 14, 2011

  • Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Safe room will always be reminder of May 22

    The afternoon of May 22, I emailed a story to my editor from my home office just before the tornado sirens sounded in Pittsburg.

    August 14, 2011

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