Tuesday, Mar. 05 2013 3:33PM
Tax credit reform a high priority
By Will Kraus
Tax credit reform
Those constituents and friends who have been reading my Capitol Reports for several years know that reforming Missouri’s tax credits is one of my highest priorities. This year, I sit on the Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee which directly hears many of the potential tax credit reforms and additions to tax credit programs. One of the measures we considered and voted out of committee received debate this week, going late into the night and into the very early morning hours.
The discussion and debate on various tax credits was lively and informative. Various amendments were offered, some were accepted and some defeated. The continued path of the Senate is to restrict and eliminate tax credits where possible to make room for other critical state programs, and even a few new, smaller tax credits designed to grow our state’s economy and increase general revenue.
The longest discussion of the evening was how to cap the two largest tax credit programs. Historic preservation tax credits and low-income housing tax credits remove hundreds of millions of dollars from our revenue before the Legislature even gets to allocate those funds. Right now, we are in the top two states nationally ranked on spending for both programs. To put it in perspective, Missouri does more historic renovation than the 13 original colonies combined!
Both large tax credit programs do have some value, and no one has suggested eliminating either program. In the end, the Senate cut the caps to a more reasonable number, around $50 million each per year. That will still leave Missouri as the third or fourth largest user of each tax credit program in the nation.
In addition to the caps on those two programs, the Senate eliminated two other tax credits and failed to renew one more that will expire this summer. We also added several new programs, including a freight forwarder program, a data center program and an angel investor program.
All in all, I think the bill, as passed out of the Senate, could save taxpayers as much as $1 billion over the next 15 years. The Missouri House will now look at the bill and likely make some changes.
Spring break town halls
We are in the process of finalizing a final schedule for this year’s Spring Break Town Hall meetings. We are planning events throughout the district and should have final details in next week’s Capitol Report. We hope you can attend one of these many events.
The following 8th District residents received framed resolutions from my office in the last few weeks. Congratulations to them for their achievements: Slava Butkovich for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, Samuel Holland for a perfect ACT score, and Jeff Diekmann for induction to the Missouri High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Despite the bad weather the last two weeks, we had a number of current and former constituents stop by, including: Jared Sickman, Hannah Seidel, Rene Sager, Merle Nunemaker, Virginia Forbes, Alice Goergen, Carol Cox, the Allen Howen family, Robert and Particia Mortez, Connie Sperry, Stephen O’Moore, Mike Frommer, Jim Anderson, Marcia Ritter, Karen Mollus, Angel Cardello, and Sarah Bohlman. I was sorry to miss the following individuals from my former home in Raytown: Michael Lightfoot, Mahesh Sharma, Partick Ertz, and Bill Van Bushirk.