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Governor: Creve Coeur Facility Is International Model

The BRDG Park at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center could benefit from legislation to be considered in a September special session.

Governor Jay Nixon used the in as a backdrop to bolster his support of special legislative session legislation to spur growth in the state's high-tech sector.

On Wednesday, after House and Senate leaders announced an agreement on a package that would reform tax credit programs and take other steps to bring Lambert-St. Louis International Airport closer to becoming a hub for cargo from China.

Thursday, he laid out in broad strokes his priorities for that September session, and the Danforth Center was front and center.

"We're not here by accident," he said. He described the center and the adjoining , as an international model and praised the work done in Creve Coeur to reach out to community colleges in the area, who are retraining unemployed autoworkers as an example.

"They not only have created jobs here, and opportunity, and a direct business contact but they also have not forgotten the workers, not forgotten that human capital, the brains, sweat of workers gives us the Missouri advantage that no one can match," Governor Nixon said.

While talk of a China hub has dominated most recent discussions, the proposed Missouri Science Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) is what brought the governor to Creve Coeur Thursday.

The legislation would set aside a portion of state income tax dollars created by new, high-tech jobs to fund economic incentives to bring new businesses to the state.

It could go a long way toward helping the Danforth Center's Bio Research & Development Growth or BRDG Park complete a buildout that would ultimately fill three buildings on the campus and create as many as 1200 jobs in Creve Coeur.

After the governor's address, Sam Fiorello, BRDG Park's president, told Patch about a negotiation to bring a Pennsylvania company to the area. His proposal lost out late in the game when the state of Virginia put up more than $2 million in incentives, and Fiorello had a number in the tens of thousands.

Fiorello said he doesn't think it must turn into a dollar for dollar race for incentives, but that this legislation could help him close out deals that mean jobs.

"It's not just PhDs from Stanford and Washington University, it's men and women from North St. Louis or from Jefferson County who are either at the beginning of their career or retooling," Fiorello said.

Governor Nixon noted that MOSIRA and the other proposals are "not brand new pencils." They have been debated before and failed in past legislative sessions, and will be complicated now by the need to pay for disaster related costs tied to the Joplin tornado and flooding around the state.

But Thursday he praised the work going in Creve Coeur and said he hoped the proposals would give "muscle to existing strength."

Rosa Sharon August 25, 2011 at 07:04 PM
By any chance, is the Danforth Plant Science Center where they take perfectly good food and modify its genes? Is this where they do that so that we commoners can eat food other than as God made it and intended it for our bodies to use?

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