Missouri House votes to rein in tax credits, block stadium aid | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House votes to rein in tax credits, block stadium aid

2 hours ago

The Missouri House has approved a massive tax bill that, among other things, trims the state’s historic tax credit program, and bars any general-revenue spending for sports stadiums.

The bill approved Wednesday also would punish developers who provide false information to obtain state tax credits by barring them from the state aid for 10 years.

And it would require homeowners who rent out rooms under such programs as Airbnb to pay the local tourism taxes already assessed on hotels.

But with the legislative session ending Friday, it’s unclear if the Senate will have the time or desire to deal with the altered measure, officially known as SB773.

The bill’s House handler, Rep. Kathryn Swan, R-Cape Girardeau, acknowledged as much. “This is a heavy lift,’’ she said, right before the House’s final vote of 115-32.

The House added more than a dozen amendments since Tuesday night, with members seeing SB773 as perhaps their best hope for getting last-minute tax measures on Gov. Eric Greitens’ desk.

Historic tax credits trimmed

The historic tax credit proposal will likely attract the most attention from urban developers and homeowners.  Under the House-approved plan, the program’s new credits would be limited to $90 million a year. That’s a 40 percent cut from the current limit of $140 million a year.

The provision’s sponsor, Rep. Kevin Engler, R-Farmington, told lawmakers the cut was not as severe as it seems, because the program’s annual awards were often below the current limit.

Some state officials in both parties have sought for years to rein in historic-tax credit spending, even as they have lauded its benefits. The problem has been the cost to state coffers, which also are strained by recent tax cuts.

The controversy in St. Louis over developer Paul McKee’s use of millions of dollars in state tax credits, and questions about his properties, may have influenced the House’s proposed punishment for developers determined to have abused the program.

Stadiums and guns

That same concern appeared to fuel the House’s swift action, with little debate, to approve a ban on using state general-revenue money for any type of sports stadium. The bill lists virtually any sport where team owner or enthusiasts might seek a stadium.

The bill also would bar regional or local governments from using their tax money for stadiums, unless there’s a public vote.

The tax bill also seeks to incentivize gun owners – who now don’t need a concealed-carry permit – to get professional guidance. It would authorize a $150-a-year tax break for people who take eight hours of firearms training.

Follow Jo on Twitter: @jmannies