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Gov. Eric Greitens announced in late May that he would resign after facing months of political and legal scandals.The saga started in January, when KMOV released a recording of a woman saying Greitens took a compromising photo of her during a sexual encounter and threatened to blackmail her.A St. Louis grand jury indicted Greitens in February on felony invasion of privacy. The woman testified to lawmakers that Greitens sexually and physically abused her, spurring bipartisan calls for his resignation or impeachment.The invasion of privacy charge was eventually dropped by St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office following a series of prosecutorial missteps before the trial began. Greitens was also accused of illegally obtaining a donor list from the veterans non-profit he co-founded with his political campaign, but that charge, too, was dismissed as part a deal that led to his resignation as governor.

Greitens succeeds in push to halt low-income housing tax credits

RISE Community Development's Stephen Acree stands in one of his organization's apartments in Forest Park Southeast. His group used low-income housing and historic tax credits to redevelop a slew of buildings in the central corridor neighborhood.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
RISE Community Development's Stephen Acree stands in one of his organization's apartments in Forest Park Southeast. His group used low-income housing and historic tax credits to redevelop a slew of buildings in the central corridor neighborhood.

Missouri will not issue $140 million dollars in state low income housing tax credits next year.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission voted 8 to 2 Tuesday to zero out the state’s low-income housing tax credit for the year. It also voted to apply for the federal version of the incentive.

The commission’s 6 to 2 initial vote last month was followed by a period of public comment. But in the end it didn’t matter, as none of the commissioners who voted last month to cut off low income housing incentives changed their minds. The two extra “yes” votes came courtesy of new commission members Craig Porter and John Scariot, who were sworn in before today’s meeting.

Gov. Eric Greitens phoned into the meeting and voted in favor of zeroing out the tax credits. He said in a written statement that special interests abused low income housing tax breaks to make themselves rich.

“There are a lot of ‘developers’ and ‘syndicators’ who profit from taxpayer dollars, and they pay politicians big bucks to keep the program in place,” he said. “We need a quality program to actually get results for people – not a special interest scheme that makes insiders rich.

The commission’s vice chair, former state Sen. Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau, speared the commission’s move. He’s been critical for years of the low-income housing tax credit, but failed in his efforts to scale back the program while he was in the Missouri Senate. 

Jason Crowell
Credit File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Former Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau

“Forty-two cents of every dollar actually goes to housing,” he told reporters after the vote. “As I’ve said over and over again, only politicians spending other people’s money think it’s a good deal to spend a dollar for only 42 cents worth of bread.”

Lt. Governor Mike Parson led the opposition to the commission’s move. He said it would make it harder to provide housing not only to low-income urban residents, but to rural Missourians and military veterans as well.

“People out there that’s affected by this, at the end of the day, we’re not giving them much of a solution for the problem,” he said. “We made a decision today on no factual basis, whatsoever…more politics than factual.”

Parson floated an alternate plan to study how eliminating the tax break would affect the state, but it was voted down.

Jackie Reichert lives in a low-income housing complex in Columbia. She attended the meeting and said she was disgusted with the results.

“It’s just sad, because we don’t know what’s going to happen, and the people who aren’t into (low income) housing yet, that are waiting to get into housing, may not ever get to be – they may be homeless.”

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport

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