Parson approves tax subsidies for GM’s Wentzville plant

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THE POTENTIAL EXPANSION of General Motors’ Wentzville, Mo., assembly plant moved closer to reality last week as Gov. Mike Parson signed legislation allowing GM to receive up to $50 million in tax credits over 10 years if it invests $750 million to expand the plant that makes trucks and vans. – General Motors photo

Jefferson City – General Motors, the United States’ largest automaker, is poised to get $50 million in state tax subsidies to invest in its St. Charles County truck plant under legislation signed by Gov. Mike Parson last week.

The economic development package will allow GM to receive up to $50 million of tax credits over 10 years if it invests $750 million to expand a Wentzville plant that makes trucks and vans.

The plant employs about 3,500 workers and supports more than 12,000 employees at 178 suppliers in Missouri.

The push for state assistance dominated the final weeks of the Legislature’s spring session, as GM shuttered five plants in North America, laying off more than 14,000 salaried and hourly workers as part of a restructuring.

Supporters of the plan said the incentive package would help the Wentzville plant avoid a similar fate.

Opponents, including a bloc of St. Charles County Republicans, argued that Parson was pushing for subsidies the company didn’t need, as well as creating a so-called “slush fund” with little legislative oversight.

WAITING ON GM
The Governor’s approval of the legislation does not guarantee an expansion at the plant.

GM spokeswoman Kim Carpenter in a statement said the company is “still evaluating the overall business case for a potential project in Missouri.”

Parson said he was hopeful GM would launch the expansion. “We’re looking for a bright future on that,” he said.

The GM incentives were wrapped into legislation that also creates a new scholarship for adults to finish their college degrees and gives the Department of Economic Development discretion to provide upfront tax breaks to other businesses before they complete their planned expansions or hire additional employees.

TROUBLE IN THE SENATE
The measure passed easily in the GOP-controlled House, but stalled in the Senate in the closing days of the session when Republican Sens. Bill Eigel of Weldon Spring and Bob Onder of Lake Saint Louis staged a 27-hour filibuster in opposition to the measure.

Parson had initially sought $22 million for the scholarship program, but lawmakers pared the amount to $10 million.

Parson, who took over as governor last year following the resignation of scandal-plagued Gov. Eric Greitens, made workforce development a cornerstone of his legislative agenda in January.

The job training program will cover the cost of tuition and fees for degrees and vocational certificates for in-demand jobs for adults over the age of 25.

Parson said the new program will not only benefit workers, but will help businesses that cannot fill vacancies because of a lack of trained workers.


 

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