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Blunt vetoes big tax credit bill

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(UPI file photo/Bill Greenblatt)
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Blunt

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – Governor Matt Blunt has vetoed a major tax credit bill the Missouri Legislature passed earlier this year.

Among other things, the legislation would have provided $100 million in aid for developers to assemble large tracts of land in distressed urban areas.

Critics say the land assemblage provision was written solely for St. Louis developer Paul McKee, who's purchased hundreds of parcels on the near north side over the last few years, but has kept quiet about his plans for the property.

Old North St. Louis resident Michael Allen said Blunt's veto will give his neighbors more of a say on development issues. He also said the governor's action provides an opportunity for new legislation from which smaller-scale developers may also benefit.

"Hopefully the criticism will allow some kind of state tax credit that's more fair and that's open and available to all," Allen said.

Jeff Rainford, Mayor Francis Slay's chief of staff, said he hopes lawmakers will keep the land assemblage tax credit as it is if and when Governor Blunt calls a special legislative session later this year.

Rainford said the land assembly provision is not the reason for Blunt's veto.

"He could have held his nose and signed the bill because of all the good stuff, and put up with the bad stuff, or he could do what he did and ask the legislature to approve all the good stuff in the fall, and that's the route he chose," Rainford said.

Blunt did not mention the land assemblage provision in his veto statement.

But the governor did say the bill has too many hidden costs. He also criticized language that gives tax credits to employers who pay below-average wages.

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