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O’Laughlin’s tax credit committee will continue through legislative session

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin, chairwoman of the Interim Committee on Tax Credit Efficiency and Reform, announced the group has gotten the green light to continue throughout the legislative session. 

The interim committee, which has held four meetings since late July, was tasked with examining the state’s large — and at times convoluted — tax credit programs. At what was set to be the final meeting Wednesday, O’Laughlin announced Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz had granted approval for the committee to continue on during session. 

“My main goal is to ensure we have accountability and hard factual data with which legislators can make decisions. We do not have that at this moment,” O’Laughlin said during an interview following Wednesday’s mid-day hearing. 

She said she wanted “further review” into how tax credits are processed and value is determined. 

“In the private sector world, data is the deciding factor. We have inefficient and burdensome rules in place, in some cases, on the state side for processing tax credits,” O’Laughlin, a member of the Senate Conservative Caucus, said. Some of the rules and processes simply drive our costs higher.”

O’Laughlin said she took the time to visit The Grove in St. Louis and found “value” in the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. And she’s open to looking into the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit further. 

But it’s data, particularly a replacement for the REMI model used by the Department of Economic Development, that has O’Laughlin’s focus.

“I think all legislators would appreciate having legislation that they know is data-driven and could help them make better decisions,” she said. 

The next meeting has not yet but scheduled but O’Laughlin said she still plans to chair the committee. 

Other members of the committee include Republican Sens. Mike Cierpiot, Bill Eigel, Dan Hegeman, Denny Hoskins, and Andrew Koenig as well as Democratic Sens. John Rizzo and Brian Williams.