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Committee outlines disbursing AIM funds

Committee outlines disbursing AIM funds

February 9th, 2018 by Joe Gamm in Missouri News

Lawmakers on Wednesday outlined specific procedures for the Missouri Treasurer's Office to distribute funds for Advanced Industrial Manufacturing zones.

Legislation passed in 2016 created AIM zones to expand manufacturing areas. The zones are areas identified through resolutions passed by port authority boards of commissioners that are being developed or redeveloped in each board's jurisdiction. Within the zones, 50 percent of state tax withholding on new jobs created is to be set aside for expansion, development and redevelopment.

However, questions arose about how to redistribute some revenue generated within the zones.

The Missouri Department of Transportation Subcommittee on Ports approved a report Wednesday outlining how disbursements within the zones are to be made.

"In order for port authorities to take full advantage of the newly authorized AIM zones, it is imperative that the funding and reimbursement procedures function in an efficient manner," the report states.

The report recommends the House Budget Committee place a line item in the budget clarifying the authority of the Treasurer's Office to disperse AIM funds to port authorities.

The committee recommended a 13-step process for disbursement of AIM funds.

First, the port authority board is to establish the zone by resolution under state law.

Then the authority is to notify the state Department of Revenue of its intent to create a zone. It is also to copy the notice of intent to the Department of Economic Development.

The authority is to provide data about its AIM zone project to the Economic Development Department, creating a "base employment rate" in the zone prior to creation of new jobs.

At that point, the authority can begin any development or redevelopment within the zone.

The authority's board of commissioners is to certify any new jobs eligible for funding created in the new zone.

The board is to provide documentation to the Economic Development Department, showing the number of jobs created and the board's certifications of the jobs.

Economic Development is to verify the number of new jobs and relay that information to the Department of Revenue.

When it reports income tax withheld, any company creating new jobs is to file a Mo-AIM form (stating the number of new jobs created and the amount withheld for the AIM zone) with Revenue.

The Revenue Department then is to send the 50 percent of taxes withheld on new jobs (per the AIM zone requirement) to the state's Port Authority Aim Zone Fund.

The state Office of Administration then sends a warrant request, certifying the amounts requested are correct, to the state Treasurer's Office.

The treasurer issues a check to the port authority from the AIM Zone Fund.

The authority approves projects, disperses monies in the fund and submits an annual budget to Economic Development, showing collected funds and explaining how the money was spent. (The Department of Economic Development need not approve how money is spent.)

"Missouri is especially well situated for economic development projects in port areas, and it is essential that the General Assembly ensure that existing economic development tools are utilized to their full potential," the report states.