by Michael R. Allen
Yesterday, amid the local smokescreen of “land trust”, the Griesheimer amendment to the Quality Jobs Act (SB 282) unanimously passed the Economic Development, Tourism & Local Government Committee of the Missouri Senate.
Here is the available summary (full text has not been publicly released):
This act creates the distressed areas land assemblage tax credit program, administered by the department of economic development. Tax credits issued under the distressed area land assemblage tax credit act, are non-refundable, fully transferrable [sic] income, corporate franchise, and financial institutions, tax credits. Tax credits issued under the act will be equal to fifty percent of the acquisition costs for the land, and one hundred percent of the interest costs. The tax credit program is capped at one hundred million dollars and the total amount of tax credits issued annually is limited to twelve million dollars.
Numerous St. Louis citizens sent letters and made phone calls urging senators to delay the vote until there could be more local discussion, especially in the areas of north St. Louis currently affected by the “Sheridan Place” (or “Blairmont”) land acquisition project Sen. John Griesheimer used to justify the new credits.
As far as this writer knows, the only reply came from the office of Sen. Wes Shoemyer (D-18th), who inserted a citizen letter in the floor book for the bill. The St. Louis delegation was unusually silent on this very local matter.
Comments in the press from Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and Mayoral Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford made no mention of the hurry to pass this bill and the lack of citizen input, or the silence of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay in the face of impending physical and social upheaval hitting the near northside of his city.