Tax credits were the focus of much of the discussion last week as the State Senate debated a SB 45 – huge economic development bill that includes an expansion of the Quality Jobs program. And the talk is expected to be feisty again as the bill comes back to the floor this week.
A number of Senators expressed concerns with a lack of legislative oversight once tax credits are made available. Senator Brad Lager (R-Savannah) sponsors a substitute version of the economic development bill that would bring about that oversight.
One of last week’s more heated debates involved Senator Matt Bartle (R-Lee’s Summit) and Senator Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis). Smith is a supporter of the Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which is aimed at encouraging the refurbishing of older buildings.
Bartle doesn’t like tax credits, but says having a watchdog would at least make the tax credit program more accountable. He wants tax credits to be part of the appropriations process. Bartle suggested money spent on the Historic Preservation Tax Credit could be used to send young people to college or to provide child care to women. Smith responded by saying he would like those things, too, but does not see those issues being connecdted with tax credits.
The bill is expected to return to the chamber on Tuesday.