One unresolved issue in this final day of the legislative session is how four programs will be funded, that the legislature tied in its budget to the passage of a bill to repeal a tax credit for low-income seniors in rental properties.
Those are First Steps, that supports families with children with developmental disabilities, early childhood education, healthcare for the blind and community health centers.
House leadership had earlier in the week said that one possibility was to attach that tax credit repeal to a larger tax credit reform package. It was amended on the House floor to a Senate bill, SB 24, on Wednesday, but the House failed to adopt the changes. The same amendment had been among those drafted for SB 112 that the House sent back to the Senate yesterday, but it was not offered on the floor.
House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream (R-Kirkwood) says the Senate has indicated it won’t support the tax credit repeal.
Instead, it has amended language to a couple of bills to use higher-than-expected state revenue to fund those programs. Stream had first been cool to that approach because it would mean exceeding the Consensus Revenue Estimate, a budget spending amount agreed to by the House, the Senate and the Governor in December. He says now, however, that’s the way to go.
“We have to face reality, and the reality is that the Senate has moved in a different direction in the last several days. So, we’re going to follow suit and make sure the people get the funding for the programs that we think need to be funded.”
The Senate’s funding mechanism has been added to HB 986, which has been sent back to the House where it will likely be taken up today.
Stream maintains Governor Jay Nixon created the question of how those programs would be supported.
He says the legislature’s budget was balanced on, “a bill that the Governor had initially proposed in his budget, had supported for three months, then backed away from it at the last minute.”
House leadership has said that the bill to repeal that senior renters tax credit used language drafted and offered by the Governor’s Office, and that Nixon’s state Budget Director Linda Luebbering had privately assured Stream that the Governor supported the bill less than two days before he said he would veto it.