Changes to Missouri Historic Tax Credit Pass Senate Committee

by Michael R. Allen

Yesterday the Missouri Senate’s Ways and Means Committee passed by a 5-0 vote a committee substitute to Senate Bill 280 (now SCS SB 280), which would implement many of the Tax Credit Reform Commission’s recommendations. The new version of the bill takes the bill from 109 to 254 pages, and tacks the Compete Missouri legislation (SB 279) onto the bill.

Included among SCS SB 280′s numerous policy changes are several that would change the state historic tax credit for the worse. Here is a summary of the changes:

  • Caps all annual issuance of historic tax credits at $75 million;
  • Sunsets Missouri’s historic tax credit after August 28, 2015 unless the legislature re-authorizes the program;
  • Prohibits “stacking” of historic tax credits with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Neighborhood Preservation Act tax credits;
  • Authorizes the Department of Economic Development to define an “applicant” for the credits;
  • Permits only qualified rehabilitation expenditures (QREs) incurred prior to issuance of the tax credits;
  • Establishes a limit of $50,000 in tax credit issuance for an owner-occupied property, and prohibits applications from owner-occupied properties purchased for $150,000 or more.
  • The most pernicious change is the new cap formula, which does not separate small and large projects as the 2009 cap did. The result will be a system that throws homeowners, small business people and neighborhood groups in the same mix as developers with stronger political connections. This new version of the Missouri historic rehabilitation tax credit would be highly politicized, and would allow the Department of Economic Development to pick winners and losers.

    Among other sections of SCS SB 280 is the bizarre recommendation that no applications be taken for the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit (DALATC) after August 28, 2011. Looks like the “tax credit for one man” — a charge that Department of Economic Development officials refuted at a public forum in St. Louis in September 2007 — will become exactly that. Why not simply end the program altogether? The DAATC has a sunset in August 2013. Under SCS SB 280, applications would end this year but the program would continue to exist for another two years. I cannot pretend to understand that logic.

    Readers, what do you think? Don’t tell me — tell your state senator and Governor Jay Nixon!

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