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Monsanto In Line for Millions in Tax Credits

1. Richard wants tax credits directed at keeping Monsanto in Missouri
2. Monsanto Company Kicks Off Nixon's High Street Project


EXTRACT: But the blogger(s) at the Missouri Political News Service suspect a more dubious plot by the governor to enrich Chuck Hatfield, a former top aide in his attorney general office who is now a lobbyist for Monsanto.

"Monsanto is in line to receive millions of dollars in tax credits this year. Is it any coincidence that their former attorney, Linda Martinez, was appointed to the agency that doles out these same tax credits at the same time that Monsanto was announcing that they ditched their lobbyist with conservative connections for the Governor's former attorney, Churck Hatfield," a MPNS blogger wrote in a Jan. 26 post.

Monsanto isn't just hiring Democrats to lobby state government. Last month, former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Gibbons, a Kirkwood Republican, registered as a lobbyist for Monsanto.
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1. Richard wants tax credits directed at keeping Monsanto in Missouri
By Chad Livengood
News-Leader, February 8 2009
http://www.news-leader.com/article/20090208/BLOGS09/90208017

[Chad Livengood is the legislative reporter for the News-Leader]

In recent weeks, at least one right-wing Missouri blogger has suggested that if confirmed by the Senate, Gov. Jay Nixon's nominee for economic development director would be in a position to shower her former client with state tax credits.

But that's exactly what Republican House Speaker Ron Richard wants Linda Martinez to do.

Richard, R-Joplin, says he supported a lift on the $60 million cap on tax credits dolled out through Quality Jobs Program so Martinez could aggressively lobby St. Louis-based agribusiness Monsanto to stay in Missouri.

“That’s the only reason I went caps off to give the economic development, the lady Ms. Martinez, all the ability she can to keep (Monsanto) in Missouri,” Richard said Thursday during a breakfast meeting with Capitol reporters in his office.

Martinez is a former Bryan Cave attorney who has done work for Monsanto. Her confirmation is being held up in the Senate because of concerns about her prior legal work representing a group of businesses in suburban St. Louis that refused to abide by illegal immigration laws.

Monsanto is considering a $1 billion expansion and is being heavily courted by South Carolina and Iowa with tax incentives to move to those states and make their investment there, Richard said.

"We want to make sure we didn't blow the caps out on one company and leave something with Monsanto not able to capture the jobs and totality of it because we are really getting some real, real competition from Iowa and South Carolina," Richard said. "And I am not going to allow that company - a St. Louis company, a Missouri company - to move without us doing everything possible to keep them jobs in Missouri.”

Caps for Quality Jobs tax credits were lifted in House Bill 191, an economic development bill the House passed 141-19 on Thursday.

The four-year-old Quality Jobs program is credited with creating 22,000 jobs. In order to receive a tax break, the law requires largg employers of 1,000 employees or more to create jobs that pay above a county's average wage and gives an employee health care insurance.

But the blogger(s) at the Missouri Political News Service suspect a more dubious plot by the governor to enrich Chuck Hatfield, a former top aide in his attorney general office who is now a lobbyist for Monsanto.

"Monsanto is in line to receive millions of dollars in tax credits this year. Is it any coincidence that their former attorney, Linda Martinez, was appointed to the agency that doles out these same tax credits at the same time that Monsanto was announcing that they ditched their lobbyist with conservative connections for the Governor’s former attorney, Churck Hatfield," a MPNS blogger wrote in a Jan. 26 post.

Monsanto isn't just hiring Democrats to lobby state government.

Last month, former Senate President Pro Tem Mike Gibbons, a Kirkwood Republican, registered as a lobbyist for Monsanto and seven other companies, including Stinson Morrison Hecker, the Jefferson City-based law firm where both Gibbons and Hatfield work, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

clivengood@news-leader.com
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2. Monsanto Company Kicks Off Nixon's High Street Project
Missouri Political News Service, Jan 26 2009
http://mopns.com/2009/01/26/monsanto-company-kicks-off-nixons-high-street-project/#more-2251

The locks had barely been changed in the Governor's office when Jay Nixon and his team of attorneys began the process of changing the guard of the lobbyists on High Street.

Companies had already received calls that it was in their best interest to hire more “diverse” lobbyists. Lobbyists that leaned more to the right side of the political philosophy were asked to hire “connected” governmental affairs specialists to guide them through the perilous maze of a Democrat governor.

Nowhere has that been better seen than the new lobbyist for Monsanto. For eight years, Monsanto has utilized the services of Travis Brown. In fact, Brown began his lobbying career as an employee for Monsanto. Mr. Brown has most recently been known as Rex Sinquefeld's representative in all fields dealing with conservative causes. One would think that Travis would have no problem retaining his client, Monsanto. Especially since he is so close to GOP lawmakers. Generally, that would be correct - except when the new Governor's directives must be met.

Monsanto is in line to receive millions of dollars in tax credits this year. Is it any coincidence that their former attorney, Linda Martinez, was appointed to the agency that doles out these same tax credits at the same time that Monsanto was announcing that they ditched their lobbyist with conservative connections for the Governor's former attorney, Chuck Hatfield.

Watch for more on Nixon's High Street Project and how favors are exchanged.

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