Missouri House passes new tax credit plan

Thursday, May 16, 2013 | 7:47 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House has made a final offer to senators on a plan authorizing new business incentives and trimming some existing tax credits.

The House passed legislation Thursday that would reduce annual tax credits for historic preservation projects to $90 million from the current cap of about $140 million. The bill would gradually lower the tax-credit cap for low-income housing projects to $110 million annually from the current $135 million.

Both of those limits are higher than what was endorsed by senators earlier this year.

The House plan also would extend a soon-to-expire tax credit for developers who amass large tracts of land, which has been opposed by some senators.

The legislation now goes back to the Senate, which would have to pass it before the session ends at 6 p.m. Friday in order for the bill to go to Gov. Jay Nixon.

Some senators said earlier this week that it appeared unlikely they were going to be able to come to an agreement with the House on an overhaul of the state's tax credit programs. But the House's 120-33 vote Thursday gives the Senate one more chance — if they choose — to accept the House version of the legislation.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, called the legislation "a serious, grown-up, adult solution to a problem that has plagued this General Assembly for years."

Disagreement between the House and Senate over the amount of proposed cuts to the historic preservation and low-income housing programs contributed to a stalemate on a tax-credit overhaul during a 2011 special session. Similar proposals also languished last year.

The bill passed Thursday by the House does include several provisions that senators have previously supported, including the creation of new incentives for computer data storage centers and investors in startup technology businesses.

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