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Plan to use tax credit to fund Bellefontaine work nixed

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
The Mo. Housing Development Commission meets in Jefferson City.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) today narrowly voted down a proposal to use a housing tax credit to help fund improvements at a facility for the developmentally disabled.

The Home Ownership Purchase Enhancement (HOPE) program expires this year. And Governor Jay Nixon proposed using the remaining balance, roughly $9 million, to fund improvements at the Bellefontaine Habilitation Center in St. Louis County.

Margaret Lineberry is the commission's Executive Director.

"We specifically felt that this was an appropriate program, given that it does serve low-income persons, persons who exist solely supported by Medicaid funding," Lineberry said.

The MHDC voted five to three in favor of the proposal. But it failed, because commission rules require a minimum of six votes for passage.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder and two other commission members voted "no," saying the proposal from the Nixon Administration had been sprung on them a few days ago and they needed more time to examine it.

"It has now been proven to be an abject failure, the HOPE Program," Kinder said. "Two-thirds of the funds were unspent, so now (the Nixon Administration) comes before us and says, 'Well, let's spring a new program on you, and that is to use the MHDC as it has never been used before, as a cash cow.'"


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