A prominent state lawmaker says he’s greatly disturbed by audits which question the effectiveness of two agriculture tax credits.

Rep. Shannon Cooper (R-Clinton) sits on the Joint Committee on Tax Policy and is chairman of the powerful House Rule Committee. Cooper is concerned about state audits that claim the New Generation Cooperative Incentive Tax Credit Program and Agricultural Products Utilization Contributor Tax Credit Program cost the state $50 million and produce very few jobs.

Cooper says, "If you looked at the information provided to us by the State Auditor’s office, there’s no reason in the world why we should continue either one of those programs"

Cooper says he understands many farm interests support the two tax credits as a way to spur rural economic development, but he says lawmakers have a responsibility to get the greatest return they can on its tax credits. Cooper says he believes lawmakers need to make a thorough study of every tax credit.

The two tax credits sunset in 2010. Cooper is awaiting a study of the tax credits from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri. He says if the FAPRI study presents similar results, it might be best to let the credits end.

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