By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Housing Development Commission has approved a measure designed to increase the number of new home owners across the state.
The provision will use $15 million in reserve funds to cover the first year of property taxes, up to $1,250, for first-time home buyers who earn less than $98,000 a year.
It was backed by Democratic State Treasurer and Commission Chairman Clint Zweifel.
"It provides property tax relief for families when they need it the most, which is right now in a tough economy, and we're excited to make this investment," Zweifel said.
An extra $500 would be available for people who buy energy-efficient homes or buy existing homes and then make energy-efficient improvements.
The provision has its detractors. Republican Lt. Governor Peter Kinder, who sits on the commission, cast the lone "no" vote.
"We should not be subsidizing property tax payments for people who make just a hair under $100,000...if we have that kind of money lying around, surely there are better uses to which this commission can put it than this one-time welfare payment," Kinder said.
The provision takes effect January 1st.
The first-year property tax provision was part of a $35 million incentives package which will also be used to spur apartment construction in Missouri.