Governor signs economic development bills
Governor Nixon on Thursday (July 11) signed two pieces of legislation on economic development.
House Bill 184 combines four major economic development programs into one program, with one combined cap and uniform definitions. The new program, called “Missouri Works,” will also allow the Department of Economic Development some additional discretion in the awarding of some benefits. While Associated Industries appreciates the need to standardize definitions and can support the combined limit on benefits, we are concerned that allowing any executive branch agency broad discretionary authority will lead to accusations of wrong-doing, whether warranted or not. The current system allowing taxpayers benefits when they meet the qualifications is the fairest approach. The bill will also allow local governments to decide whether to establish “enhanced enterprise zones” with associated local tax benefits. Current law requires approval by the state after the local government has determined they want to establish one or more zones.
House Bill 196 establishes the Missouri Works Training program, combining several job training programs into one program. Like the Missouri Works legislation, definitions will be standardized and greater flexibility will be allowed to the Department of Economic Development in the use of the funds. The bill also eliminates the requirement for some unemployment claimants to personally appear in an office of the Division of Employment Security at least once every four weeks. Claimants would still need to report, but could do so over the Internet.
Here is a link to the governor’s press statement on the bills.