Bill creates incentives for high-tech jobs

Monday, October 24, 2011

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is moving forward with plans to implement a new law aimed at attracting high-tech jobs, despite a contingency clause that could make the bill invalid.

Nixon signed Senate Bill 7 last week, creating a fund to offer incentives to companies that conduct research or make products in a variety of high-tech fields, including agricultural biotechnology, homeland security, information technology and pharmaceuticals. Tax revenue from existing biotechnology companies would be used as grants to help similar businesses get started in Missouri. Annual transfers from state revenue equal to a percentage of the growth in wages paid to employees of existing science-based companies would fund the MOSIRA program.

The bill had been among Nixon's priorities for a special legislative session that has otherwise has failed to produce a comprehensive economic development bill as promised.

The Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act contained a clause declaring that it cannot take effect unless a separate bill on state tax incentives for businesses also passes during the current special legislative session. That has not happened, and it does not appear likely before the special session ends. Senate President Pro Tem Rob Mayer said Friday that the chambers are at an impasse and he would end the special session this week. Contingency clauses in legislation have been voided in the past, and ultimately a court may have to determine the effect, if any, of the contingency clause in Senate Bill 7, according to a news release from the governor's office.

* New clinic opens in Benton: SEMO Health Network will open a new clinic today in Benton, Mo. Benton Medical and Dental Center, 6724 Highway 77 E next to Dollar General, will provide medical and dental care for the residents of Scott County. The clinic will be staffed with physicians, family nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists and nurses.

Services provided include primary medical care; preventive health screenings; adult immunizations; acute care for minor illness or injury; children's care, including immunizations and well-child checks; adolescent health; geriatrics; women's health care, including family planning and annual gynecological exams; full diabetes program; on-site laboratory services; mental health/counseling referrals; translation services for non-English-speaking patients; migrant services; EKG; dietary counseling; behavioral counseling referrals; and dental care.

Southeast Missourian business editor Melissa Miller may be contacted at 388-3646 or mmiller@semissourian.com.

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