Lawmakers have little trouble admitting the state’s tax giveaways need to be reined in. The sticking point is how.

Tax credits let various interests keep some of their taxes to plow back into their projects, presumably creating jobs or enhancing property values. At a time when the legislature is trying to cut 500-million dollars from the budget, the idea that the state let developers keep 656-million dollars in taxes last year opens some eyes.

The sponsor of the tax credit overhaul bill admits there’s no consensus in the senate. Some senators such as Matt Bartle of Lee’s Summit think those wanting tax credits should justify them to the legislative appropriations committees.

Another proposals limit the amount of tax credits that can be redeemed in any one year and would give the state more flexibility deciding who deserves more or less each year. One more sets aside at least 100-million dollars for business development but makes those wanting credits in five other categories justify their causes to legislative appropriations committees. A third one is a pay-as-you-go plan that has the legislature set aside funds every year for redemption of tax credits that are issued that year.

The short term is problem enough….but Senators also know there’s a long term issue out there, too—-that 2.3-billion dollars in tax credits are waiting to be cashed in while the state still struggles to pay its bills.

Listen to the opening debate (Dempsey, Shields, Bartle, Schmitt, Crowell, Green, Lager) 55:36 mp3