That is the word on the street. This morning, news broke that a Cole County circuit judge had ruled that the 2011 MOSIRA law, an incentive program passed to promote bioscience research in Missouri, was unconstitutional as written, and to the chagrin of MOSIRA supporters, it does not look like a legislative fix will be coming this year (emphasis mine):
The reason, Mayer said, is many in the Senate will demand comprehensive tax credit reform — an idea that died twice last year over difference between Republican leaders — before signing off on the fund, known as the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA).
“I don’t think the Senate can pass MOSIRA without comprehensive reforms to our state tax credits,” Mayer said. “That was true during the special session and that’s true now.”
The Senate passed the MOSIRA bill with a contingency clause that said it couldn’t go into effect unless a separate tax credit bill also won approval. Even though the House didn’t approve of the contingency clause it passed the bill anyway in the hope that it would hold up in court.
In a ruling Tuesday morning, Cole County Circuit Judge Dan Green concluded that the contingency clause was unconstitutional, and because he believes it was vital for the legislation to pass and “may well have been a last-ditch attempt to garner enough votes,” the entire fund is unconstitutional.
The “separate tax credit bill” referenced here originally included the Aerotropolis credits, but when the Missouri Senate largely removed those credits from the bill, the Missouri House declined to pass the tax credit bill in any form. That decision, it appears, has sealed MOSIRA’s fate, at least for now; everyone expects that the case will be appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, and there always is the possibility that Judge Green’s decision could be overruled. That said, it is very good to see legislators recognizing the gravity of the tax credit problem. Legislators should not be resurrecting the same sorts of failed tax credit ideas and tax incentive policies over and over again: abetting a tax incentive system that, particularly since the late 1970s, has grown fatter and fatter as the decades have passed.
Try something new: reduce taxes for everyone. Missouri can be more competitive, and it can start by eschewing opportunities to constantly pick and choose who benefits from the state’s largesse.