JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Sen. Jamilah Nasheed blocked a gubernatorial appointment to the Public Service Commission — a body that regulates investor-owned utilities in the state. She’s demanding clearer PSC regulations and rules and a release of more than $13 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credit funds.
Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat, has clashed with fellow Democrat Gov. Jay Nixon in the last few weeks after Nixon asked the Missouri Housing Development Commission to temporarily withhold LIHTC funds already approved for use. The request came as part of a deal Nixon reached with senate Republicans to secure speedy package of last month’s Boeing incentive package. A contingent of Senate Republicans demanded Nixon take action on the state’s massive tax credit program before they approved the deal.
Nasheed’s district is a large recipient of the funds, which she says are “absolutely vital,” to her constituents well being. She appeared with Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder at a press conference calling on the governor to release the funds, something she says Nixon expressed anger over at a meeting between with the black caucus a few weeks ago. At the meeting, Nixon told the black caucus that he would release the $13 million at the next MHDC meeting in March.
“He was pretty angry that some of us were standing with Republicans and saying he was wrong,” Nasheed said at the time. “But he is the one that cut the deal with them, and he didn’t come and ask us what we thought. My district needs these funds, a lot of our [black] caucus members represent districts that need those funds.”
Nasheed told The Missouri Times earlier today that her objection to the appointment of Daniel Hall to the PSC was twofold. First, she says she has concerns about the PSC’s power and the future of their regulations.
“I’ve just got some issues on how they do business,” Nasheed said. “So I want some more information on how they do things before I vote for him. But I want the funds released too.”
Nasheed said if Nixon released the funds she’d be happy to release her hold on Hall.
Sen. Brad Lager, R-Savannah, joined Nasheed in committee in raising concerns about PSC operations, but said he didn’t agree with her decision to demand action on LIHTC funds in exchange for releasing the hold.
“Historically the Senate has not held up nominations to accomplish some other issue,” Lager said. “It doesn’t make for good government.”
Lager, who is one of the largest voices in the capitol against tax credit spending and who was one of the senators involved in the deal with Nixon, said he had concerns about whether or not the PSC was equipped to function “ten years from now.”
While Nasheed has made it clear she will release her hold if Nixon releases the funds before his promised March date, Lager has said that he wants more information about the PSC before he’s willing to approve Hall.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.