Historic preservation tax credits bill seeks a conference, gets tabled instead

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As the days tick away until the final deadline of the 2018 legislative session, the fight for historic preservation tax credits continues in the state’s upper chambers.

The Missouri Senate is seeking for a way to move forward with Sen. Dan Hegeman’s SB 590, which would lower the caps for historic preservation tax credits from $140 million to $90 million. The Senate had already signed off on the legislation, and it passed the House, but with an amendment.

That amendment seeks to modify the areas that could receive an additional $30 million in tax credits from areas with at least 30 percent poverty rate to 20 percent rates.

The major hang-up was the issue of the word “may” being changed to “shall”.

“We’ve gone from the department saying they may pick a number between one and $30 million to saying they shall pick a number between one and $30 million,” Sen. Scott Sifton said. “Really, it could fall anywhere between those two amounts.”

“The House has totally changed the bill,” Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said. “The bill we sent over was a bill I supported, but with these changes, I don’t think I can support it now.”

Both Nasheed and Sifton suggested that the bill go to conference and work out the differences. And after more than an hour of debate on the floor, Hegeman withdrew his motion, instead asking to go to conference with the House. Several senators rose to ask Hegeman what he intended to do in conference.

“This is a defining moment. Either you’re going to stand up for the poor, or you’re going to stand up for the developers,” Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal said to Hegeman.

“Senator, we will try to move the legislation forward and try to help the poor,” Hegeman responded.

But the following debate on the floor between Sens. Chappelle-Nadal and Jamilah Nasheed, regarding the censoring of the former senator in the prior week, quickly put the bill back on the informal calendar.

While the two senators discussed the censoring and the rules that were applied in the censoring, Sen. Bob Dixon, who made the previous motion last week, rose again with a point of order. Citing U.S. Senate Rule 19-2, which prohibits the questioning of colleagues’ motives.

With that point of order made, the bill was laid over on the informal calendar as the President Pro Tem took the rule under advisement. But, until the Pro Tem rules on the point of order, the bill cannot come forward again.

Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email benjamin@themissouritimes.com or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.