State lawmakers would have to include any state tax credits they receive on their personal financial disclosure statements under a bill being considered by a House committee.

Rep. Shannon Cooper (R-Clinton) says he got the idea during hearings of the Interim Tax Policy Committee in which it came to light that a few Missouri legislators received tax credits, but none had to disclose them to the public. Mostly, lawmakers received tax credits for their investment in ethanol plants. Cooper doesn’t mind the practice, but does mind the secrecy.

Cooper’s bill also would require that lawmakers disclose tax credits acquired by their spouse or their dependent children. HB 1674 would require the tax credits be disclosed on the personal financial disclosure statements filed as public records with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

Information supplied by the Missouri Department of Agriculture indicates that eight current state lawmakers or their spouses have received thousands in new generation tax credits, mainly for investments in ethanol plants, but also bio-diesel, pork processing and dairy. Some have received as little as $500 with one state representative’s family topping $200,000 in agriculture tax credits. A number of former state legislators also have received substantial sums in new generation tax credits.

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