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Cape Girardeau has been chosen as the site for an Alliance Blue Cross-Blue Shield service center. The St. Louis-based insurance company is expected to bring 200 new jobs to town.

The deal was sealed Monday night when the Cape Girardeau City Council approved a tax abatement in the Cape West Business Park at Interstate 55 and Route K. The tax abatement in the enterprise zone will last 10 years. The county and city have also pledged $25,000 for job training.

Some may balk at the idea of offering such financial incentives to bring businesses and industry to town. But that's the way the game is played. There were other cities lined up behind Cape Girardeau, ready with their own package of incentives.

Governments must simply weigh the pros and cons of any such proposal. While the city and school district will lose yearly tax collections, they will gain as Blue Cross employees move to town and buy houses and invest in other properties. The county will gain as employees spend their dollars here, adding to sales tax revenues.

Enterprise zones and tax abatements have paid off for the city. Cape Girardeau's 24-square-mile area enterprise zone includes downtown Cape Girardeau, Nash Road, the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport, Cape West Business Park and the Town Plaza area. Over the years, 117 new businesses and 2,111 new jobs have been developed in the zone. That is quite a success story.

This is no fly-by-night operation. One councilman described the company aptly when he called Blue Cross "a major company with major credentials." Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Missouri is the largest managed-care provided in the state, covering 1.7 million members. The company originated prepaid health coverage more than 60 years ago.

The minimum salary for each of the 200 jobs is $16,000 a year. In all, the center will bring a $3.7 million payroll.

The entire project is moving on a fast track. The target opening date for the center is Jan. 1. The center is expected to handle about 10,000 claims daily.

Their relocation here may also send a signal to other St. Louis-based corporations that Cape Girardeau is a great place to do business.

In the world of recruitment -- whether it be industrial or white-collar employers -- cities and counties have to give a little to get a little. This tax abatement and training dollars represent a sensible investment by the city and county.