Tax Credit Scorecard: The Good, The Bad, And The Downright Sad
The Missouri General Assembly’s 2012 session is over. How did the legislature do?
The Good: With most current elected officials disinterested in fixing Missouri’s tax credit binge, much of the “good news” here is what the legislature did not do. For one, a piece of legislation that resurrected part of 2011’s failed Aerotropolis tax credit boondoggle failed to make it out of the Senate. Another piece of legislation that would have expanded and created several tax credit programs without fixing the state’s out-of-control development scheme also failed.
The Bad: A compromise proposal that the Senate passed late in the session would have cut the cap on the Historic Preservation Tax Credit by almost half, from $140 million per year to $75 million. While not a perfect piece of legislation, it was probably the single-best chance for genuine tax credit reform this session. Not surprisingly, it died without a vote in the House.
The Sad: Tax credits remain one of the state’s most pressing areas for reform, and yet there appears to be few courageous leaders willing to take the reins and lead the charge to reform the system, either modestly through sunsets and caps, or audaciously, through a wholesale swap and elimination of the corporate income tax. Reform will come, but whether it will be forced on the legislature or whether it acts proactively on its own accord remains to be seen.