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Mo. Lawmakers Start Work On Boeing Proposal Despite Questions

Missouri's special legislative session kicked off late Monday afternoon, as lawmakers officially began work on Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's proposal to land Boeing's contract to build the 777X passenger jet.

The Missouri House briefly convened around 4:00 p.m. and adjourned for the day roughly 10 minutes later. Republican Speaker Tim Jones said afterwards that the Governor has been mum so far on the total projected cost of the Boeing project and the projected return on investment.

"Those are two huge key numbers that have to be answered before, I think, either chamber is gonna be comfortable moving forward," Jones said.

Gov. Nixon is seeking $150 million in incentives to convince Boeing to expand its St. Louis County facility in order to build the 777X.  However, he's agreed with Boeing not to disclose any figures regarding costs or investment returns.

“We've kept in regular contact on details of this project, and will continue to be working with both (the) House and Senate on providing more and more concrete details as available," Nixon told reporters Monday.

Nixon met with both House and Senate Republicans, in the morning and afternoon, respectively.  Senate GOP leaders delayed convening in order to give their members more time to discuss the proposal, and to perhaps try and head off any attempts by fiscal conservatives to block it.

There are two versions of the Boeing bill. Senate Bill 1 is sponsored by Eric Schmitt, a Republican from Glendale.

"This is truly a unique opportunity for us to move forward on an effort to bid on potentially 8,000 direct jobs and tens of thousands of more indirect jobs, whether they be suppliers or construction jobs," Schmitt said.  "It's my view that we ought to take our best shot."

The House version of the bill is sponsored by another Republican State Rep. Anne Zerr from St. Charles.

Boeing has set a deadline of Dec. 10 for Missouri and other states to offer their bids for building the 777X passenger jet, which gives Missouri lawmakers one week to pass it and send it to the Governor for his signature.

Members of the House and Senate's economic development committees are scheduled to hear testimony on the Boeing proposal Tuesday night.

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