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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BREAKING: Grassroots WIN in Missouri "Aerotropolis" is dead on arrival

In what was a complete give away to special interest in the state of Missouri, the bill known as Aerotropolis or "China Hub" has been all but killed by Republican Senators. The Senators caucused late into the night, taking a preliminary vote, resulting in 11 Senators listening to their constituents and saying "HELL NO" to uncapped give aways and croney capitalism in our state. Thanks to the persistence of grass-roots, Tea Party and all the other patriot groups around the state it looks like Aeroptropolis will fail in the Missouri Senate this week during special session. This is a serious win against special interest and boondoggle spending. We even fought against local radio using their megaphone to push favorably for this issue. In the end the Republican Senators made the right decision and held fast to their fiscal values to the benefit of the Missouri Taxpayer.

The idea behind Aerotropolis is a good one, international trade and economic development would be great for our region. Part of the problem with this particular deal is the majority of the tax breaks contained in the bill go toward the construction costs (not actually doing business) of new warehouse space around the airport when we have over 18 million sq. ft. of unused space sitting idle right now. Because of the way the bill is designed there is one construction contractor in St. Louis that would qualify as able to build new warehouse space.
There does not seem to be any practical reason for the “100 acre” requirement
contained within the Aerotropolis tax credit bill. The requirement seems to serve only to restrict who could draw upon such tax credits, narrowing the field to a small
pool of large-scale developers.
Another issue with this project was the statement that Aerotropolis credits would not be given until the facilities were built and being used for international cargo. In fact there is no requirement of international trade only that "two forms of transportation" be used. In addition, there are only 20% and 10% international trade requirements for the majority of the tax credits. Also, there are no protections for the taxpayer that if the international trade never materializes the tax credits won't be awarded. Finally, there have already been $100 million in tax credits used or authorized in that area and $192 million more available.

Like Ballpark Village before it, the folks pushing for this legislation are pushing for millions in tax incentives for future growth and jobs that may never happened, based on shaky estimations of how much business and income will actually be generated. Taking the RCGA's word for it is what we, the taxpayer, did back in 2006 and none of that has materialized yet though millions have been given away to developers for a softball field.

There are even more issues with this bill, they have been covered extensively by the Show-Me Institute. For more information on what is wrong with this bill and why it was a supremely bad deal for St. Louis please read "Aerotropolis: A Raw Deal for Missouri"