Fact Check: There is No Protection For Taxpayers In Aerotropolis Legislation
On Tuesday, I participated in a panel discussion with Missouri Rep. Sylvester Taylor (D-Black Jack) and Dave Roland, executive director of the Freedom Center of Missouri, during the Saint Louis Aerotropolis Forum at the St. Louis County library headquarters.
Taylor asked me during the discussion whether subsidized warehouses and facilities would have to be in operation for a number of years prior to receiving the Aerotropolis tax credits. I said, “I think so,” and the discussion continued.
In fact, having re-read the most recent available version of the legislation, there is no such protection. None. According to the legislation, a warehouse or facility could be built (or not?), receive the credits, and then cease to exist. There is no requirement that the warehouse or facility exist for a period of years prior to receiving the benefit.
Apparently, this is a common misconception. Missouri Rep. Donna Lichtenegger (R-Jackson), told the Southeast Missourian, “The good thing is they don’t get any of this tax credit money unless they perform.”
Again, this is not the case. From a standpoint of accountability and fiscal responsibility, I wish the legislation contained such a provision. However, as it stands, it appears that no stipulation exists.