It’s the Good Advice … That the Governor Just Didn’t Take
Bad news for taxpayers in Missouri: Gov. Jay Nixon is beginning to communicate opposition to recommendations from the commission that he created.
Way back in September, in his opening address to the committee, the governor requested “fact-based recommendations” for reducing the state’s expenditure in targeted tax credits (emphasis mine):
Specifically, I’m calling on you to do three things: Determine which of our 61 tax credit programs are generating a good return on investment for taxpayers, determine which tax credit programs are not generating a good return on investment and provide me with fact-based recommendations for change. […]
I need you to complete your review, present me with a clear fact-based recommendation, and I will work with the legislature to implement it.
Pursuant to Nixon’s charge, the Tax Credit Review Commission determined that the Senior Citizens Property Tax Credit does not generate a good return on investment, among other recommendations. For this reason, the commission recommended that the program be modified to exclude renters, which would save $57 million annually. This is a considerable sum — it represents 10.98 percent of total tax credit expenditures in 2010.
Nixon says that he wants to reduce the cost of tax credit programs, but this goal can’t be accomplished unless he is willing to make decisions that may be politically unpopular, such as eliminating underperforming programs.