Missouri Statehouse
1:20 pm
Fri July 2, 2010

Missouri Senate Update

Kansas City, MO – Missouri Senate leaders are bypassing a committee that's blocking legislation to provide auto incentives during the ongoing special session.

Republican Chuck Purgason, chair of the senate's Fiscal Oversight committee, is blocking a vote on the House bill that contains both incentives for Ford Motor Company and tax breaks for underground data centers. So Senate leaders have crafted a separate bill that excludes the data centers. It's sponsored by Republican Luann Ridgeway of Platte County:

"I've eliminated everything in my bill having to do with manufacturing that is not included in the governor's call, so we keep ourselves legal in that respect."

Because of the bill's smaller size, it won't have to go through Purgason's committee. He says Missouri should be giving incentives to small business owners instead. Purgason is also running for the U.S. Senate.

Additionally, the Missouri Senate has passed legislation to restructure the state's pension system. The bill would raise the retirement age for state workers to 67, require new workers to pay into their pensions, and create a new investment board for the state's various pension plans. Senate Majority Floor Leader Kevin Engler says the new board would look for the best places to grow money:

"What we're trying to do is give those boards the flexibility to go to the best return, where it's in a down market or up market, to try to beat the markets."

The House version of the bill does not contain an investment board. Members there say the provision would add a new level of bureaucracy and invite corruption.