A proposed $80 million low-income housing development in downtown Kansas City and a $9.45 million affordable housing project in southwest Missouri’s Branson are expected to be scrapped, according to Missouri Workforce Housing Association Executive Director Jeff Smith. He tells Missourinet the likely moves are because of a state commission’s decision this month to ditch $140 million in low-income housing tax credits.
“There’s very little affordable housing for all of the people who help make the tourism industry work doing cleaning and other jobs that don’t pay very much,” says Smith. “They can’t afford the real estate around there. Branson wants affordable housing badly, desperately to keep the economy growing.”
The Branson development includes 21 duplex-style buildings with two- and three-bedroom options for a total of 42 units. The Kansas City project involves 400 units for mixed-income level residents.
In 1990, the Missouri Legislature established the low-income tax credit program designed to match corresponding federal tax credits. Smith, a former State Senator, hopes the legislature will “rectify” the commission’s decision. The legislature approves the tax credit funding.
“This unprecedented move by the Missouri Housing Development Commission to unilaterally refuse to allocate tens of millions of dollars towards affordable housing, something that Democratically-elected legislatures have supported for two-and-a-half decades, we think this move is extremely upsetting,” says Smith.
A press release from Republican Governor Eric Greitens says bi-partisan audits have shown that half of the tax credits given to developers goes to building low-income housing. He says “lobbyists and special interests want Missourians to pay more tax dollars to make them rich.”