JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Some serious investment could be coming to the General Motors Assembly Plant in Wentzville. The state government appears ready to offer big tax incentives to the tune of more than $50 million. But there are strong opinions both for and against the tax credits.
It all stems from Governor Mike Parson’s economic development package. The measure, which focuses on employers across the state, zeroes in on growing business in Missouri.
For the GM plant in Wentzville, that would mean a package of incentives worth tens of millions of dollars if the auto giant meets certain benchmarks. One such target: it must invest at $750 million in the Wentzville assembly plant.
The Missouri House approved the financial package on Thursday by a 92-51 vote. The Missouri Senate is expected to take up the measure on Monday.
Those opposed to the tax credits call the proposal corporate welfare. Meanwhile, Gov. Parson said the comprehensive tax credit package will ensure Missouri stays competitive, adding there’d be a positive ripple effect for the near 200 businesses across the state that supply products to GM.
House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann said there would be a huge return on investment.
“I’m not a big fan of tax credits unless there’s going to be a direct correlation between making that investment. What do we get back—you and me—as taxpayers? What do we get back from our return on our investment?” he said. “And from what we’ve been told from the Department of Economic Development, every dollar that we put into this, we’ll get $9 back, just the GM thing alone.”
But Wiemann’s colleague, Republican State Senator Bill Eigel from Weldon Spring, is vehemently against the idea.
In a statement, Eigel said that in 2008, the Ohio government awarded General Motors $82 million as an incentive for a plant in that state. In March 2019, GM closed that plant.
“I don't support benefits that go to one company or group and not another,” Eigel said. “But there are a lot of small and medium businesses in St. Charles that aren't getting millions of dollars to risk their investments here.”