by Michael R. Allen
Tim Logan has a good article this morning about the state of Missouri’s historic tax credit program. Recently, the Department of Economic Development (DED) sent letters to already-approved historic tax credit project applicants stating that the projects were going back for further review. This applied to projects approved since July 1. The letters did not cite the substance of any DED rules that will govern further review.
In the article, DED spokesman John Fougere stated that the new rules were created to ensure compliance with the large project cap passed by the legislature in 2009. That cap went into effect January 1, 2010. Did DED miss the chance to ensure that half of this year’s projects are in compliance? And since estimated project cost is a requirement of even having an application reviewed, why are new rules needed to ensure that DED does not award too many tax credits? A calculator would suffice.
DED has not yet shared the language of the new rules with prospective applicants. If the new reviews are taking place, the rules must exist. If the rules exist, they should be shared. The historic rehab tax credit has been orderly, predictable and free from politics since day one. Some want to cut it or change it for budgetary reasons, and their arguments are respectable. What Governor Nixon is doing is something else entirely.