Gov. Jay Nixon today joined leaders from the Smith Electric Vehicle U.S. Corporation to announce that the company's next generation of all-electric, zero-emission trucks will be built in Kansas City.
By 2010, Smith Electric Vehicles plans to create 120 new automotive jobs in Kansas City with an average annual starting salary of $44,236 and health care benefits for employees. The company's total initial investment in the Kansas City metropolitan area amounts to about $10 million through the creation of the new jobs, the construction of the 80,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and the leasing of 8,600 square feet of office space in the Ambassador Building near Kansas City International Airport. The production facilities will be designed to be easily expanded as demand for these next-generation vehicles increases.
"During these difficult economic times, too many Missourians are out of work, and too many good-paying jobs are moving overseas," Gov. Nixon said. "But today's announcement is great news for the people of Missouri and our economic future. With our highly skilled workforce, central location and abundant resources, Missouri is a natural choice for companies to manufacture the next generation of high-tech, energy efficient vehicles. As production of these cutting-edge vehicle lines ramps up, I will continue to fight to ensure that the Show-Me State becomes a hub for the production of next-generation automobiles. By working together, we will make Missouri the global leader in producing next-generation vehicles, create high-tech jobs for our workers and transform our economy for the 21st century."
One reason Smith Electric Vehicles chose to locate this new production facility in Missouri was the competitive incentive package Gov. Nixon's Department of Economic Development was able to offer the company. Under an agreement with the Department, SEV agreed to create 120 new jobs in Kansas City that paid above the county average wage and provided health care benefits for employees; the company must create these jobs by 2010. In exchange, the Department has offered the company $2.1 million in state tax incentives under Missouri's successful Quality Jobs Program. None of these credits are awarded until the company creates the new jobs and hires employees.
Expanding the resources of the Quality Jobs Program is a centerpiece of Gov. Nixon's Show-Me Jobs Initiative, a bipartisan plan to jumpstart the state's economy and get Missourians back to work. Weeks ago, the Missouri House of Representatives passed this urgent job-creation bill by a strong, bipartisan vote. Since then, however, the bill has been obstructed in the State Senate. Gov. Nixon today renewed his call for the Senate to take swift action to pass the jobs bill.
"When it comes to getting Missourians back to work and transforming our economy, we simply don't have time to lose," Gov. Nixon said. "I thank the members of the Missouri House for reaching across party lines to pass the jobs bill with an overwhelming vote, and I renew my call for the State Senate to do so as well. It's vital that we come together to create the tools that will attract additional investment to the state and create even more high-tech, high-paying jobs. We cannot afford further delay."