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Missouri governor signs tax break for Kansas City nuclear weapons parts manufacturer

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks to the media from his office in the state Capitol (photo courtesy of Missouri Governor’s Office)
Gov. Mike Parson, seated, holds up legislation he just signed offering a tax break to private developers expanding the National Nuclear Security Administration’s south Kansas City campus. (photo courtesy of Missouri Governor’s Office)

Developers planning to expand a Kansas City facility manufacturing nuclear weapons components will get a break on sales tax under legislation Gov. Mike Parson signed Monday.

Parson held a signing ceremony at the site, currently a gravel lot across from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s south Kansas City campus. The expansion is expected to cost more than $3 billion and add more than 2 million square feet of space to the campus.

Lawmakers present Monday predicted the expansion would add about 2,000 high-paying jobs in south Kansas City.

“To have that kind of investment anywhere in the state, especially here, is a big deal for the entire state and a big deal for this community,” Parson said.

For years, Honeywell International Inc. has operated the National Nuclear Security Administration’s plant manufacturing non-nuclear parts for the U.S. nuclear weapons program.

But proponents of the tax break say the facility needs to expand to accommodate work the NNSA will need to modernize and refurbish the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile.

“You’re talking about securing the country and making sure that this country stays safe,” Parson said Monday.

Lawmakers passed the tax break overwhelmingly this spring, largely citing the potential economic boon of the new jobs. The sales tax exemption on construction materials for the project is expected to divert more than $150 million in state, county, city and Kansas City zoo sales tax revenue over 10 years, according to a fiscal analysis that noted the exact cost couldn’t be verified.

Legislative staff wrote that the bill’s “fiscal impact could be significant.”

The legislation had support from both Democrats and Republicans and was championed by now-former Missouri Sen. Greg Razer, a Kansas City Democrat.

At the signing event Monday, Razer called the tax break a “no-nonsense piece of legislation.” He said the Honeywell expansion would be “transformational” for south Kansas City, Grandview and surrounding communities.

“This is high-paying jobs in these communities,” Razer said, “and as Kansas City continues to grow and have a renaissance, we’ve got to make sure that every corner of Kansas City grows and is involved in that renaissance. That’s what’s happening here today.”

The Missouri Independent is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization covering state government, politics and policy. It is staffed by veteran Missouri reporters and is dedicated to its mission of relentless investigative journalism that sheds light on how decisions in Jefferson City are made and their impact on individuals across the Show-Me State.
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