Lawmakers outline new tax break plan

Friday, July 20, 2007

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- House Speaker Rod Jetton says key lawmakers have agreed on a slimmed-down package of tax breaks that could be considered in a possible special session later this summer.

Jetton said Thursday that the tax incentives would cost $54.5 million initially, growing to $70.3 million annually within several years.

That would be within the cost target set by Gov. Matt Blunt two weeks ago when he vetoed a wide-ranging tax break bill that he claimed could have cost about $200 million. Blunt said the original bill had errors and would have directed money to some questionable causes.

Jetton said lawmakers have agreed to eliminate the specific provisions to which Blunt objected and have pared back both the quantity and cost of the additional tax credits. But the legislative plan still would include more items than Blunt had suggested.

"I'm ready for the governor to call the House into a special session," Jetton, R-Marble Hill, said in a conference call with reporters. "We've got a package that we think addresses all of his concerns, is much more fiscally conservative ... and really creates jobs all around Missouri."

Jetton said he would like a special session to begin by mid-August, at the latest.

Blunt has not yet called a special session. He's waiting to be sure House and Senate leaders have agreed on a package that "benefits all Missourians" -- instead of just certain interest groups -- "and is fiscally responsible," said Blunt spokeswoman Jessica Robinson.

When vetoing the bill lawmakers passed during the regular session, Blunt said he would consider calling a special session if lawmakers could agree on three particular provisions expanding the state tax credits available to certain Missouri businesses.

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