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General Assembly Passes Senate Bill 1 to help Missouri Compete for Boeing 777X
Boeing launched the 777X program at the 2013 Dubai Airshow with a record-breaking number of customer orders and commitments for 259 airplanes from four customers across Europe and the Middle East. Image courtesy Boeing
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 8, 2013 - Just one week after calling a special session of the General Assembly, Gov. Jay Nixon today praised final passage of Senate Bill 1, bipartisan legislation to help Missouri compete for production of Boeing's next-generation commercial aircraft, the 777X.
With more than a dozen states competing to build the 777X, Gov. Nixon called the legislature into a special session to consider legislation that would help the state submit a competitive proposal for this transformational project. In less than 5 days, the bill passed the Senate by a vote of 23-8 and the House by a vote of 127-20.
"The highest priority and deepest commitment of my administration has been to create good jobs for Missouri families and move our economy forward - and that is exactly what this bipartisan bill will help us do," said Gov. Nixon, in a release. "Production of the Boeing 777X would create thousands of high-paying jobs, generate billions of dollars in investment and spur economic growth in every corner of our state. That's why competition for this next-generation aircraft is so fierce. Today, by reaching across party lines to develop an approach that protects taxpayers and guarantees a return on our investment, we are in a very strong position to compete."
Senate Bill 1 provides separate capacity of up to $150 million annually for an aerospace project that creates at least 2,000 jobs under four of Missouri's performance-based economic development programs: Missouri Works, Missouri Works Training, Missouri BUILD, and the Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act. The total amount of benefits Boeing could earn would be based on the number of new jobs created and the wages of those jobs, the amount of new capital investment, and the cost of training workers to build this next-generation aircraft.
"I greatly appreciate the General Assembly's work to send a bill to my desk in a timely manner so that we may submit a competitive proposal to Boeing on the aggressive timetable the company has set," Gov. Nixon said. "Just as we worked together in a special session in 2010 to revitalize our auto industry and attract historic investments from Ford and GM, Missouri has once again demonstrated to the world that when it comes to creating good jobs for Missouri families, we compete and we compete to win."
Under these programs, a project must demonstrate a net positive fiscal benefit to the state, before any incentives may be authorized. In addition, companies must invest and create jobs first before being eligible to defray these costs by keeping a portion of the revenue they generate. By retaining these existing safeguards and creating a separate cap to accommodate an aerospace project of this scale, Missouri can compete to win production of the 777X without jeopardizing other economic development projects or investments in public education or other vital services.
To meet the company's workforce needs, Gov. Nixon's administration has formed a consortium of area community colleges to train and certify thousands of additional graduates in aerospace and advanced manufacturing areas to grow a pipeline of highly-skilled workers for this project and others in this sector.
Strong support from St. Louis-area construction labor councils has also given Missouri a competitive edge, as Gov. Nixon announced an historic agreement among St. Louis-area construction labor councils to work a 24-hour schedule and forgo overtime. In a letter to the Governor, the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council, the Eastern Missouri Laborers' District Council, and the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis committed to 24-hour work schedule without overtime during construction of Boeing's facilities. This aggressive work schedule would double the number of work hours each week, triple the committed workforce, and reduce the construction time by at least a year.
Senate Bill 1, combined with the strong support from the education and labor communities, will help the state to submit a competitive response to Boeing's Request for Proposal, which is due by Tuesday, December 10.
Budweiser Donates $1.5 Million to Folds of Honor
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), December 8, 2013 - Budweiser, which annually honors the U.S. military with patriotic packaging during the summer, recently culminated the program with a $1.5 million donation to Folds of Honor.
For every case sold from May 5 to July 4, 2013, Budweiser made a donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation, up to $1 million. The Anheuser-Busch Foundation contributed an additional $500,000, for a total $1.5 million donation to Folds of Honor, altogether providing 300 scholarships.
"As the most iconic brand in America, we feel it is our duty to support the military members, and their families, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country," said Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser. "Folds of Honor and the people it helps continue to be an inspiration to our entire company, and we are very proud to be a longtime partner of this organization."
Since 2010, Budweiser has raised more than $6.5 million for Folds of Honor—providing more than 1,300 educational scholarships to the families of soldiers killed or disabled in service. Next year, Budweiser wants to do even more by partnering with its more than 400 wholesalers to help multiply its donation in 2014, when more than 35,000 U.S. troops will return home from Afghanistan.
"Budweiser and its wholesaler system are planning an unprecedented donation for this unprecedented homecoming," said Perkins.
At the Anheuser-Busch sales and marketing conference in San Antonio, Major Dan Rooney, Folds of Honor founder and former F-16 pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard, issued a challenge - and incentive - to the 2,800 attendees. Local wholesalers who commit $5,000 by Dec. 13, 2013 will be eligible to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to fly out to a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean, accompanied by Major Dan Rooney, for dinner and a private tour of the ship, which will be hosted by the ship's captain.
"Thousands of families have benefitted from Budweiser's support of Folds of Honor, but there are thousands more that still need our help," said Rooney. "I am consistently impressed and humbled by the commitment Budweiser and its wholesalers show for our military families and their sacrifices."
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