SS/SB 343 - The act establishes the Missouri quality jobs program. The program allows qualified companies to retain a portion of the withholding tax or wages paid to employees in newly created jobs. To qualify for the program, employers must offer basic health insurance and pay at least 50% of the premiums. The three types of qualifying programs are as follows:
• SMALL AND EXPANDING BUSINESS PROGRAM: These programs must create more than 20 new jobs if in a rural area and 40 new jobs if in a non-rural area in two years. The program is unavailable if creating 100 jobs or more. The employers must pay at least the county average wage.
• TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS PROGRAM: These programs must create ten new jobs directly involved in the operations of a technology company as defined by the Department of Economic Development and appropriate NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) in two years.
• HIGH IMPACT PROJECTS PROGRAM: These programs must provide a minimum of 100 new jobs within two years.
For each of these programs, the employers may retain withholding tax for a set number of years based on what they are paying relative to the county average wage. The technology business program and high impact projects program may be eligible for tax credits. High impact projects may receive additional benefits if the local government provides benefits equal to their new local tax revenue.
Companies that have been found guilty of violating laws relating to labor, health and safety, or the environment in the last five years shall not qualify for this program.
The act establishes the "Quality Jobs Advisory Task Force" which consists of the chairpersons of the economic development of the Missouri senate and the Missouri house or his or her designee, the director of the department of economic development or his or her designee, and two members appointed by the governor. If the department of economic development wants to increase the maximum amount of tax credit given to a qualified high impact project company, they may increase the amount up to one million dollars if the increase is proposed by the department and approved by the task force.
The act empowers the Department of Economic Development to charge a fee to the recipient of certain tax credits of two and one-half percent of the tax credits issued. They may not charge a fee for credits issued for community service, crime prevention, education, job training, or physical revitalization. The fees are to be deposited in the economic development advancement fund which is established by this act.
The act caps the tax credits issued for the program at twelve million dollars and the maximum amount authorized for business relocation in a distressed community is reduced from ten million dollars to eight million dollars. The remaining balance of two million dollars in tax credits is transferred to the quality jobs program. The Missouri Downtown and Rural Economic Stimulus Act cap is reduced to one hundred eight million dollars.