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House Budget Committee makes annual motion to approve tax credits

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lawmakers on the House Budget Committee moved to approve controversial changes to the state’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC).

The change, recommended by Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick’s Accelerated Redemption Study Committee within the Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC), would essentially require the state to outlay an additional $25 million in tax credit spending upfront in order to offer some developers the opportunity to cash out quicker on their developments. Fitzpatrick’s committee unanimously approved the recommendation to expand the program from 20 percent of developments to 50 percent of credits. 

The House Budget Committee approved a motion to enact the recommendation during its annual tax credit review hearing Tuesday afternoon. 

“This pilot program has been great by all the reports that I have received,” House Budget Chair Cody Smith said. “I’ve included in this motion that we would authorize up to 50 percent of those credits be granted for accelerated redemption. It does not require it, it does not say they must do those accelerated redemption credits; it just gives them that opportunity.”

The proposal attracted controversy last week as legislators decried perceived executive overreach. Members of the upper chamber, including leadership and ranking members of the Appropriations Committee, also raised concerns over the move. 

The program was restarted last year after lying dormant since 2017. The committee also recommended its revival.

Jill Wood, executive director of the Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Business Development Division, joined the committee to field questions on a set of tax credits that the legislature failed to extend this year. The New Generation Cooperative Incentive Tax Credit, Meat Processing Facility Investment Tax Credit, and Agricultural Product Utilization Contributor Tax Credit are programs offered by the Missouri Agriculture and Small Business Development Authority (MASBDA) that are set to sunset at the end of the year.

“COVID changed the demand for these programs because we realized that Missouri needs more processing entities in order to get food to the table for Missourians,” Wood said. 

Despite a push from agriculture groups this session, the credits were not extended. Rep. Scott Cupps noted the possibility of an extension as part of a supplemental session. 

Rep. Peter Merideth pointed out the committee did not have the authority to implement its motion on this year’s tax credits, only to review and approve the estimates. The committee voted 25-1 to submit it to the House journal, with Merideth voting against the motion.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has not made a motion to recommend the change. The credits are up to a final vote by MDHC.