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Perspective: Special session vote for jobs

The main focus of my efforts as your senator has been jobs. From the first day of my campaign to now, hardly a day has gone by that I have not been reminded by you that this is to be my primary focus.

As a small business owner, I have seen first-hand, over and over again, that economic activity breeds additional economic activity. It is this first-hand knowledge that led me to vote in favor of legislation to help persuade Boeing to locate its 777X production to St. Louis.

Boeing has had a presence in St. Louis for more than a generation, and the jobs they provide are excellent, high-paying, high-tech jobs that Missouri needs and Missourians are prepared to fill.

Additionally, the 1,000,000-square-foot production facility that must be built, as well as the thousands of direct and secondary supplier jobs, will increase business activity across the state. I have been told that more than 100 of Missouri’s counties have a business that directly supplies Boeing or one of its vendors — that is an impact that reaches far beyond St. Louis.

During debate on Wednesday opposition to the Boeing proposal centered upon the premise that broad-based tax relief might be more effective at spurring Missouri’s economy. I agree completely that broad-based tax reduction is important and necessary, and I will continue to support efforts to make these cuts a reality, just as I did by supporting HB253 during the last session.

I simply do not view broad-based tax reduction and the Boeing plan as either/or options; there is no reason we cannot continue to work toward tax relief while at the same time taking responsible actions to land the 777X production line.

From my perspective, the Boeing legislation actually paves the way for additional discussions about broad-based tax reductions during the upcoming session.

The legislation passed by the Senate on Wednesday is reasonable and responsible. There is no immediate impact to the state’s general revenue, as the state will not be giving Boeing money we currently receive, rather we will allow Boeing to forego some future taxes based upon jobs created and employees hired.

The legislation contains numerous safeguards to protect taxpayers, should Missouri be selected, that ensure the state is performing its fiduciary role in protecting the resources of this future revenue. Additionally, as part of the negotiations on the Boeing legislation, the governor and the legislature made commitments to pursue tax credit reform that will be manifested in the upcoming session.

In the end, the Boeing legislation enables Missouri to: 1) be competitive for up to 8,000 full time jobs at Boeing and tens of thousands of new primary and secondary supplier jobs, 2) take up broad-based tax reductions at the beginning of the 2014 legislative session, and 3) provide the impetus for tax credit reform.

Each of these alone will benefit Missouri, but done together, they will have a significant impact on Missouri’s economy. With this vote, the Senate acted directly on behalf of your, and all Missourians, continued call to focus on jobs, jobs, jobs.

My purpose and my intent is to serve the constituents of the 6th Senatorial District. Please feel free to contact me at any time at 573-751-2076. When you are in the Capitol during the coming weeks and months, please stop by your office in Room 220.

Web link:

www.senate.mo.gov/kehoe

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