Missouri law will give automakers $150 million in tax breaks

JEFFERSON CITY — Gov. Jay Nixon today will sign into law $150 million in tax breaks for automakers that are aimed at Ford Motor Co.'s assembly plant in Claycomo and intended to save thousands of jobs.

After a tortured, four-week process that culminated in a 20-hour filibuster, Missouri lawmakers finally approved the measure Wednesday, ending a special legislative session called by Nixon. He will join automotive workers to sign the bill during a ceremony this afternoon at UAW Local 249 in Kansas City.

"With the sharper, stronger economic tools provided by this jobs bill, Missouri can make sure that our automotive industry remains vibrant for generations to come," said Nixon, a Democrat, in a statement Wednesday.

"The legislature also passed a fiscally responsible measure to modernize the pension system for future state employees and ensure the solvency of this retirement system."

Reforms to the pension system could save state government $660 million over 10 years, lawmakers said, with the savings expected to offset the costs of the automakers' tax incentives.

A Nixon spokesman said Wednesday that the governor had a "positive and productive" conversation with Ford CEO Alan Mulally following the bill's passage. In the telephone call, Nixon reiterated the importance of Ford and its supplier network to Missouri's economy.

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