A last-minute effort from Lt. Gov. Mike Parson to delay the end of a state tax credit for low-income housing failed Tuesday.
The Missouri Housing Development Commission voted 8-2 to end the state’s largest tax credit program. Parson and Jon Hensley, who was voting as a proxy for Treasurer Eric Schmitt, were the two dissenting votes.
The commission will still give out federal low income housing credits.
The Columbia Housing Authority has been using federal and state credits to help renovate each of its 719 public housing apartments and town homes, according to previous Missourian reporting. The housing authority also used state credits to help build 25 apartments at Patriot Place, which houses veterans with low incomes or who are homeless.
Upcoming renovations of 54 townhomes at Bryant Walkway Apartments and 36 townhomes at Bryant Walkway II Apartments won’t be affected by the commission’s decision because they have already been funded.
The housing authority will have to look elsewhere for funding to renovate the rest of its townhomes. It planned to renovate 50 townhomes at the Providence Walkway Apartments, 40 at the East Park Avenue Apartments and 30 at the Fisher Walkway Apartments between 2019 and 2023.
Jason Crowell, a former Missouri State Senator and House of Representatives majority floor leader, introduced the draft of the plan to end state credits at the commission’s meeting on Nov. 17. Parson pushed back on that plan in November, and again on Tuesday.
Parson asked the commission’s staff on Tuesday if anyone from the public spoke in favor of ending the state credits. He was told one person out of hundreds supported the plan. Parson then made a motion to delay a vote on the plan until the commission could study the impact of ending the state credits.
“We have no evidence whatsoever what the impact will be,” Parson said. “These homeless veterans, these disabled people, these low-income people, we’re gonna pat ‘em on the head and say, ‘Just get in line. Get in line, everything’s gonna be all right.’ Well I’m here to tell you today, that line goes nowhere, because there is no place to go if we take the action we’re gonna take today.”
Crowell said the commission was taking the step of ending the state credits because the Missouri General Assembly failed to reform the program for years, citing reports from state auditors which determined the program was inefficient. Crowell said the power to appropriate tax credits should be taken away from the housing commission and given back to the legislature.
Crowell said he has more power over the state’s largest tax credit program as a member of the commission than he did as a legislator.
“That is absolutely insane,” he said.
Parson’s motion failed 8-2, with Parson and Hensley the only votes in favor. The commission immediately moved to approve Crowell’s plan.
Supervising Editor is Tynan Stewart.