The first plank of the Family Recovery Plan is about job creation and retention, but as I have stated before government doesn’t create jobs, people do. In recent years, Missouri has benefited from an innovative program called the Quality Jobs Act, a program that is measurable and accountable, and it focuses incentives on family supporting jobs.
This past week the House passed legislation intending to expand this proven, successful program responsible for thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars of new investments in Missouri.
The nation’s economic downturn has stymied the healthy job growth Missouri enjoyed just a few years ago. Since its creation in 2005, the program provided incentives for more than 22,000 jobs in more than 65 municipalities. It has also helped our state retain nearly 2,500 jobs. As the name implies, the jobs that have been created and retained are quality jobs that pay above-average wages and provide health insurance. According to the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the average wage of the jobs created by the program is in excess of $53,000 annually and the average annual wage of those retained is nearly $74,000. In total, Quality Jobs projects contributed more than $2.5 billion in new investment in our state in the first three years.
The results produced by the program have been impressive. The legislature increased tax credit caps in 2007 and again in 2008 to allow more projects to be approved and demand has continued to exceed supply. The bill approved this week removes the tax credit caps in order to approve projects all across the state. The Quality Jobs Program has proven to be the most powerful economic development and job creation tool in Missouri.
An additional piece of this legislation also targets small businesses and entrepreneurs. Our small businesses create two-thirds to three-quarters of all new jobs and in economic downturns we generally see a spike in new business starts. This legislation creates the Small Business and Entrepreneurial Growth Act which provides incentives for the smallest of Missouri’s small businesses to expand and grow. These incentives will assist small businesses that grow beyond the four person size and assist them to take on new employees.
The Family Recovery Plan is intended assist Missouri not only in these difficult times, but in good times as well. The House has now sent the first piece of the Family Recovery Plan to the Senate. I look forward to getting the tax relief, health care, and energy bills passed by the House in the weeks to come.