The Missouri Senate spent several hours last night working on a wide-ranging tax credit bill, which they gave first-round approval to at around 3:30 this morning.
Senate Bill 120 would drastically cut incentives for Historic Preservation and low income housing. Historic Preservation tax credits would be capped at $50 million a year, instead of the current $140 million, and low income Housing incentives would be capped at $55 million a year. Senator Jamilah Nasheed (D, St. Louis) criticized the move.
It appears so far that the Missouri Senate may no longer be the place where tax credits go to die.
In years past, proposed incentives for such things as historic preservation or amateur sporting events would have faced a filibuster threat from a group of fiscally conservative Republicans in the Senate. But the leaders of that group are gone due to term limits, and perhaps that’s why this year’s amateur sports incentives bill was allowed to receive a Senate floor vote. State Senator Will Kraus (R, Lee’s Summit) says the atmosphere has changed.
Tax breaks for food pantries, pregnancy resource centers and the Children in Crisis program all expired last year when lawmakers failed to pass any type of tax credit reform package. Scott Baker, State Director of the Missouri Food Bank Association, testified today in favor of renewing the incentives. He says according to the USDA, Missouri has the nation’s 7th highest food insecurity rate.
Updated 1/2/2013 with the credit's legislative developments.
While “fiscal cliff” negotiations are happening in the nation’s capital, a lesser known issue is also on the table. And depending on the outcome, thousands of jobs in Missouri could be at stake.
Gerald Nickelson is a worker at CG Power Systems in Washington, Missouri. As he walks around the factory, he points out a line of workers in front of a machine, wrapping coil. Later, the coil will be housed inside a green metal tank and shipped off as a complete transformer.
Some of the original recommendations have been scaled back. The new list calls for shrinking the cap on Historic Preservation tax credits to $90 million, instead of $75 million as proposed two years ago, and reducing the cap on Low Income Housing to $135 million instead of $80 million. The caps for Historic Preservation and Low Income Housing are currently $140 million and $195 million, respectively. The new report also drops the recommendation to put expiration dates on all tax credits.
Members of a panel created to review Missouri’s tax credits are leaning towards recommending that the cap on Historic Preservation tax credits be cut nearly in half.
The incentives program is popular with developers, but Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and a group of Republican State Senators say it’s draining off revenues from the state budget.
Tom Reeves co-chairs the subcommittee looking into Historic Preservation tax credits. He says he favors much of the recommendation from two years ago to reduce the annual cap from $140 million a year to $75 million a year.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) has reconvened his tax credit review commission to again examine which incentives need to be eliminated or further capped.
In 2010 the same commission recommended sun-setting 28 tax credit programs and capping 33 others. At the time the commission said the move would save the state $220 million. Former Republican State Senator Chuck Gross of St. Charles again chairs the commission.
Attorney General Chris Koster has sued a well-known St. Louis developer and his former business partner in an effort to recover tax credits that Koster says were fraudulently obtained.
In the suit filed today in Cole County, Koster alleges that in 2010 and 2011, the state Department of Economic Development awarded developers Kevin McGowan and Nathaniel Walsh nearly $2.4 million in brownfield credits to clean up lead paint at the Cupples 9 building in downtown St. Louis.