Unknown Party Slips New-and-Improved Tax Credit Handout into Aerotropolis/Eco-Devo Legislation
In a blog post published today at the Southeast Missourian, state Sen. Jason Crowell raises a battery of concerns about the economic development legislation being put together in Jefferson City for the special session. He describes the bill as a deal “cut behind closed doors in a non-transparent inside job” to the benefit of “fat cat campaign donors.” Sen. Crowell also thoroughly rips the Aerotropolis portion of the legislation, calling it a “special interest giveaway.”
And now we find out from the Kansas City Star that apparently new tax credit provisions are popping up in the legislation, and it looks like no one knows who’s throwing the taxpayers’ money around.
This is a problem (emphasis added):
A reconfigured package of state aid that could benefit a wealthy St. Louis developer is complicating prospects for a special legislative session aimed at creating jobs across Missouri, lawmakers said.
A provision included in one draft of a massive economic development bill could provide additional financial support for developers such as Paul McKee, who has spent years pushing for a sweeping mix of housing, offices and retail space for a two-square-mile area north of downtown St. Louis.
McKee already has received nearly $28 million in land assemblage tax credits, and some lawmakers are frustrated that they haven’t seen much progress in the development….
It’s not clear who put it in the legislation. Lawmakers said provisions can be added to draft legislation without identifying the author.
Two points to consider:
First, how exactly did legislators come to a legislative agreement on July 20 if the legislation hadn’t been finalized? One lawmaker suggested that “various versions of proposed legislation are circulating and that few provisions are set in stone.” Then what precisely was agreed to when the special session announcement was made?
And second, the legislation is well over 350 pages already. How many other tax credit Easter eggs are hidden in these weeds? Legislators and taxpayers shouldn’t have to pass the bill to find out.