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Politically Speaking: Treasurer Fitzpatrick On Statewide Transition And Tax Credits

State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick

State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where he talked with St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about his first few months in the statewide office.

Fitzpatrick is a Republican who served three full terms in the Missouri House, including two years as the chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Gov. Mike Parson appointed the Barry County Republican to be treasurer after Eric Schmitt was picked to be attorney general.

Fitzpatrick is a native of Shell Knob, a Barry County community that’s about 40 miles away from Branson.

He started a dock-repair business while he was in high school, a company that grew dramatically while he was in college. After state Rep. David Sater termed out of the Missouri House, Fitzpatrick prevailed in a contested Republican primary for his seat – the real contest in the heavily Republican district. He became House Budget Chairman in 2017, which gave him a major say over how to craft Missouri’s spending priorities.

Since taking over as treasurer, Fitzpatrick has made significant changes to a program known as Missouri FIRST that provides low-interest loans to businesses. He’s also been promoting the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act, or ABLE accounts, which allow Missouri residents with disabilities to save tax-free money without losing benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance.

Fitzpatrick also became engaged in the bid to restart the low-income housing tax credit program. He played a major role in preventing the issuance of that incentive when he was a member of the MissourI House. And he also supported a House bill this year that included some major changes to how the program is overseen and administered. Ultimately, nothing got passed — even after Parson said last year he wouldn’t restart the program without legislative action.

Here’s what Fitzpatrick talked about on the program:

  • Fitzpatrick talked about how he’s getting the word out about the ABLE program, which doesn’t have a marketing budget but just recently went over 1,000 accounts.
  • He also touched on how his office is returning unclaimed property to people — and explained how people lose money or personal items in the first place.
  • Fitzpatrick discussed how the state’s budgetary situation stabilized considerably throughout the year. Many lawmakers were concerned that revenues were not coming in strong enough at the beginning of the year — and that Parson would have to make withholds. Instead, the governor signed a budget recently with no line-item vetoes and no withholdings.
  • Parson said in late 2018 that he would not restart the low-income housing tax credit program without the Legislature passing significant changes. Fitzpatrick talked about whether the governor will stick with that pledge — and if there’s enough legislative momentum to overhaul the incentive.
Politically Speaking

The podcast is sponsored by the St. Louis-based law firm of Capes Sokol

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Scott Fitzpatrick: @MOTreasurer

Music: “It’s All About The Benjamins (Rock Remix)” By Puff Daddy and Family

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.

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