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Governor touts tax credits even as he pushes to rein some programs in

Gov. Jay Nixon at Alpla's St. Louis facility. The company received about $267,000 in tax credits
(photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI)
Gov. Jay Nixon at Alpla's St. Louis facility. The company received about $267,000 in tax credits

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Peters, Mo – Gov. Jay Nixon is continuing to push lawmakers to overhaul the system of tax credits in Missouri - even as he touts the good they do.

The governor traveled to St. Peters Tuesday to celebrate the decision by the Austrian company Alpla to open a 83,485 square foot facility in the city. The company manufactures plastic containers for products like laundry detergent and cleaning spray, and plans to invest about $25 million over the next ten years. The company also promised to create about 150 new jobs in the region.

The state Department of Economic Development awarded Alpla about $267,000 in tax credits, or about $1,800 a job - a ratio Nixon said was worth it, even as he continued his push to downsize other programs.

"We're creating long-term jobs in highly technical fields, that pay quality (wages). And we're doing it in a cost-effective manner," he said. "These aren't entitlements."

Nixon wants to cap the initial amount of credits the state can award, but give the legislature the authority to allocate more funding if necessary. He has expressed particular concern about the growth in tax credits for low-income housing and historic redevelopment.

"We're number one in the country in historics, we're number two in low-income housing, we're number 35 in K-12 funding, and we're number 45 when it comes to higher education funding. I think those need to be closer," he said.

Republicans are balking at Nixon's plan, saying all the tax credits are crucial development tools.

Nixon denied reports that he's offered to sign legislation requiring photo ID to vote in exchange for lawmakers approving his tax credit reforms.