A special legislative committee with a broad charge focuses in on the breaks the state gives businesses. It’s called the Joint Committee on Tax Policy. It has 10 members, five from the Senate and five from the House, six are Republicans and four are Democrats. The committee has much on its plate, since it is charged with considering the state’s entire tax structure. Talk has focused on the state’s 54 tax creidts and not just because of published reports indicating businesses might have been defrauding one. Senator Michael Gibbons (R-Kirkwood) chairs the committee. He tells members tax credits have to return money to the state to be worthwhile. Members of the committee have expressed concern about how much the tax breaks to businesses and some to individuals cost the state, openly questioning whether they are worth it during these times of tight state budgets. Gibbons wants to get a handle on the cost-benefit of the programs. The State Department of Economic Development administers 32 tax credit programs, used primarily to lure businesses to the state or keep them here. Many of the programs have been in existence without much change the past 15-to-20 years.
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