By DAVID A. LIEB
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House passed legislation Thursday offering an across-the-board tax cut to corporations, extra incentives to businesses in certain favored fields and a sales tax break to shoppers who buy products made in the United States.
House members voted 98-48 for the wide-ranging bill supporters touted as a means of spurring job creation in a state where unemployment remains around 9 percent. But the ultimate fate of the bill remains uncertain, because it differs significantly from a version passed by the Senate last month and from the agenda set for the special legislative session by Gov. Jay Nixon.
In one of the biggest additions, the House plan would reduce Missouri's corporate income tax rate from 6.25 percent to 5.5 percent in January, which supporters said could reduce state revenues by about $50 million annually. There was no immediate estimate about how much revenue Missouri might forego from a provision that would exempt products made in the United States from the state sales tax during a one-week period from July 1-7 in 2012 and 2013.
The House legislation would authorize several specific tax credits that also were included in the Senate version, including new incentives for computer data centers, amateur sports events and businesses that handle international exports through Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
But the House version doesn't go as far as the Senate bill in curtailing some of Missouri's existing tax credit programs, a move which had been counted upon to help finance the new incentives.
Unlike senators, House members rejected an attempt to place expiration dates on two of Missouri's most expensive tax credit programs, which aid developers of low-income housing and historic buildings. Instead, they approved an amendment that would allow legislators to vote in 2016 on a measure to prevent the tax credits.