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Nixon outlines plans for 2011 special session

Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon.
(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)
Mo. Gov. Jay Nixon.

Updated 3:46 p.m.

St. Louis business leaders are praising a move by state lawmakers and the governor to take up a broad-ranging package of economic incentives.

Governor Nixon announced Thursday that he will call a special session in September to talk address jobs and economic development

Chief among the package is $360 million in tax incentives for Lamber-St. Louis International Airport.

Nixon also pointed to the state's growing export industry and then need to fund improvements at Lambert to make it a viable air freight hub.

"We sell biotechnology to Japan, wood products and Volpe salami to South Korea, soy beans, cotton and corn to China, beef, poultry and wine to Taiwan and all of those are only the beginning," Nixon said. "Here in Missouri we make things."

Dick Fleming is the chair of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association.  He says the so-called "Aerotropolis" bill is not corporate welfare.

"Aerotropolis is performance driven," Fleming said. "It's not subject to somebody picking winners and losers.  If you make the standard and you create the jobs and you create the kind of infrastructure the governor was talking about, that's the circumstance in which you get the credit.

On the table are also funds for biotech startups, incentives for data centers as well as rebuilding funds for disaster-stricken communities around the state.