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Missouri Announces Investment In Advanced Manufacturing

Tue, 04/12/2011 - 4:30am
Chris Blank, Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — A report Gov. Jay Nixon touted Monday as a five-year economic blueprint for Missouri recommends that the state promote the development of seven specific industries with a mixture of tax incentives, specialized job training and expanded infrastructure projects.

The industries, announced previously, are advanced manufacturing, energy, bioscience, health sciences, information technology, financial and professional services, and transportation.

The report was developed by a commission created almost one year ago that included business, labor and economic development officials from across the state. Its members recommended focusing on those industries because of their potential for growth.

Nixon, who released the commission's final report during a conference call with state Economic Development Department Director David Kerr, said many of the proposals could be accomplished without action by state lawmakers.

"We do not see this as a legislative economic development plan. We see this as the state economic development plan that has been created with the direct input of over 600 local businesses and professionals," Nixon said.

When it announced the industries in December, the commission outlined goals of developing a workforce with key skills, retaining and expanding existing businesses, optimizing state tax incentives, investing in technology and innovation, aggressively marketing Missouri, developing foreign trade, encouraging small and minority business development and offering the infrastructure that companies require.

The final report released Monday delves into those objectives and suggests ways to meet those goals.

Some of those include changing tax credit programs, developing a state incentive for science- and technology-related businesses and creating a program to forgive in-state college tuition for some Missouri high school graduates.

Other recommendations include examining whether the state should develop more trade offices overseas, make entrepreneurship training part of the core elementary and secondary school curriculum, continuing to expand access to broadband Internet and developing a state-funded entity to support major infrastructure projects.

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