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House Approves Jobs Package

The Missouri House gave overwhelming support to the governor's economic development package Monday. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

Lawmakers in the House began their last week of the regular session by working on an economic development package that Governor Matt Blunt proposed earlier this year.

The bill would give incentives to businesses that provide employee health ensure and create jobs that meet wage standards.

Republican Representative Ron Richard of Joplin is the bill sponsor.

Richard says the new economic development program won't cost taxpayers any money since it will draw funding from another program that isn't using all of its allocated funds.

A significant part of the debate focused on whether the bill should deal with those who are not authorized to work in the U.S.

The House adopted an amendment from Republican Representative Tim Flook.

His amendment prevents any company that hires or subcontracts with unauthorized workers from receiving any state tax credits, subsidies or loans.

He says the idea is to discourage companies from enticing illegal immigrants from coming to the U.S. to work.

He says there have been examples of tragedies involving people coming to the U.S. illegally in hopes of finding work.

Democratic Representative Ray Salva says he's also concerned about the welfare of illegal immigrants who come to the U.S. seeking work.

He says by discouraging companies from hiring them, lawmakers are also protecting high paying jobs for Missourians.

No one spoke against the provision that prevents companies that hire undocumented workers from receiving state tax credits.

The House gave bi-partisan support to the entire economic development bill.

Though the House version is different than what the Senate previously approved.

Lawmakers from each chamber will now meet in conference committee to work out a compromise.