Missouri Lawmakers Approve Tax Breaks For Bombardier

$240 million plan to entice Canadian airplane maker to Kansas City flew through the Legislature as politicians praised it as Missouri's best chance to land a super-sized development deal.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A $240 million plan to entice a Canadian airplane maker to Kansas City flew through the Legislature on Wednesday as politicians praised it as Missouri's best-ever chance to land a super-sized development deal.

Political optimism aside, there is no guarantee that Bombardier Aerospace will choose to take Missouri's incentives instead of those offered by its home country.

Bombardier, the world's third-largest civilian plane manufacturer, is looking for a place to make its new series of 110- or 130-seat passenger jets. Missouri is offering a large swath of grassland near Kansas City International Airport as an alternative to Bombardier's previously expressed preference of Mirabel, Canada, just north of its Montreal headquarters.

Missouri is offering up to $240 million in tax credits over eight years, beginning in 2013, based on the number of employees hired at the assembly plant. Bombardier would repay the tax credits, plus a 5.1 percent rate of return, by giving Missouri a fixed amount of money for each plane it sells from the plant.

Sponsoring Rep. Ron Richard predicted Missouri has about a 75 percent chance of winning the competition for the assembly plant.

''This is a large scale project -- something Missouri's never had the ability to attract in a global economy,'' said Richard, R-Joplin, chairman of the House Job Creation and Economic Development Committee.

The House gave final approval to the legislation authorizing the tax incentives by a 138-14 vote Wednesday, sending it to Gov. Matt Blunt for his expected signature making it law.

Senators passed the bill 24-8 last week, but only after state economic development officials scaled back the incentives, delayed the startup of the tax credits and added greater taxpayer protections in response to Senate concerns.

Bombardier is looking to build a projected $400 million assembly plant and flight testing site that eventually could employ 2,100 people in jobs paying an average of $63,000. Economic development officials project the assembly plant could lead to the creation of an additional 5,000 jobs connected to its operations.

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