JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) – Missouri House members on Monday took another shot at passing a $50 million incentives package for a General Motors expansion as a group of opposing Republicans slowed work in the Senate to a halt in protest.
Gov. Mike Parson pushed for the deal in hopes of persuading the company to expand a Wentzville plant that makes trucks and vans, but he hit a roadblock when he tried to pair the GM tax credits with another tax incentive program and a new scholarship.
Both are among the Republican governor’s top priorities this session.
Fellow GOP lawmakers in the House and Senate conservative caucuses have derided those programs as offering free college and creating a slush fund for the Department of Economic Development to entice other businesses to the state.
Republican Sen. Bill Eigel, who lives in a St. Louis suburb near the Wentzville plant, said the House last week added provisions to the proposal “which clearly in my mind are not necessary for the overall GM deal.”
“I want to make sure that we’re not passing anything that I philosophically have a lot of problems with that aren’t actually required to get this through,” Eigel said.
The House on Monday passed a new version without those provisions. The latest deal also would require GM to retain 90% of the current jobs at the plant in order to qualify.
But Parson spokesman Steele Shippy said the governor still is pushing for the full package as he proposed, and Republican Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz said the broader deal is what GM wants.
Lawmakers were at an impasse Monday as members of the Conservative Caucus continued to stall work in the Senate.
That burns valuable time as lawmakers’ Friday deadline to pass legislation approaches.