The Missouri House Budget Committee is reviewing every tax credit the state offers as the legislative session winds down.
The panel is hearing analysis and making comments about the credits, which apply to a wide reaching range of individuals and business.
Someone making no more than $30,000 who spends money to make their homes accessible for a disabled person could get a tax credit on 100% of what they spend. Anyone who made a contribution to a domestic violence center would be eligible for a credit.
Some tax credits are highly competitive because their funding falls far short of demand while other have large monetary authorizations, but are barely utilized because they’re not well known. A number of lawmakers on the committee found the imbalance to be frustrating.
Republican Marsha Haefner of Oakville is critical of a tax credit adopted in 2010 for the purpose of keeping cattle in Missouri because the state’s not keeping track of its effectiveness in expanding business.
“You know, if we’re making an investment in an industry for the purpose of expanding that industry, seven years later we should certainly have some data to say this is working, or this is not working.”
The credit through the Agriculture Department is intended to incentivize cattle farmers to hold onto calves as a vast majority born in Missouri are sent out of state, taking revenue sources they provide with them.
Republican Justin Hill, who represents parts of St. Charles County contends a low income housing credit for developers is being misused.
“My county has the highest per capita income in the state, but I venture to guess we probably have the highest amount of applications for low income housing” said Hill. “So I feel that the need for these is being directed to the wrong counties.”
Hill, who lives in Lake St. Louis, thinks developers are being allowed to wrongly utilize the credit to benefit themselves rather than people in need.
“What I’m learning is they would rather invest in a county that’s growing so that when this tax credit runs out in 15 years, they have good assets in a county that’s still growing. They don’t want to invest in a county that’s not growing.”
The budget committee will finish examining the state’s vast assortment of tax credits this week. Despite misgivings from a number of panel members, they’ll vote on all of the tax credits together with the expectation they’ll remain in place.