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Judge finds tax credit constitutional

By Maria Altman, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, MO. – A Cole County judge ruled Wednesday against plaintiffs challenging the constitutionality of a state tax credit.

The suit against the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit argued it failed to meet a public purpose and benefited one person, developer Paul McKee

But Judge Patricia Joyce said the plaintiffs failed to prove that.

Paul Puricelli, an attorney for Paul McKee, says the law is very specific about how the tax credit proceeds can be used.

"Great care was taken, I think, at the legislature to make sure that any tax credits that were given under this program would ultimately benefit the people that this money was intended to benefit; these people in these distressed areas," Puricelli said.

McKee received more than $19 million in the state tax credit last year.

But Plaintiff Keith Marquard says there's no guarantee the developer will carry through with his promises for a large area of North St. Louis.

"Right now the way the commercial real estate and real estate in general, we're looking of five, ten years of stagnation," Marquard said. "Who knows if anything will ever come of this."

He says the plaintiffs plan to appeal.


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