By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Attention Shifts to See What the House Does
Over the past few weeks, I have shared with you how Missouri had the opportunity to make September’s Extraordinary Session a “Taxpayer and Missouri Jobs First” Special Session. And because you demanded the right legislation be passed, the Senate listened and passed a bill that put job creation and the Missouri taxpayer first. Your calls and emails led to the Senate scrapping the special interest first plan and passing Wednesday a jobs bill that begins making government live within its means and ties incentives directly to jobs created.
In the past, the state has subsidized activity because of promised jobs. The special interests worked hard lobbying and giving to campaigns and convinced legislators that their tax credits would create jobs and enhance economic development. This influence led to politicians giving out hundreds of millions of your hard-earned tax dollars to Low Income Housing tax credits, Historic Preservation tax credits and Land Assemblage tax credits. However, while the awarding of tax credits increased over the last 13 years by 430.8 percent, equaling $545 million in 2011, the promised jobs have never been created.
That is because subsidized activity not tied to job creation fails to create jobs. All those tax credits did was line the pockets of wealthy developers who, with the help of the politicians, conned the Missouri taxpayer. It is clear that instead of job growth, Missouri’s return on investment was 21 cents for every dollar spent on Historic Preservation tax credits and 11 cents for every dollar spent on Low Income Housing tax credits. “Give me a dollar and I will give you 21 cents or 11 cents back.” You would never do that with your own money, and you should not allow the politicians to do such with your tax dollars.
Yet this has been the state’s economic plan, and it almost passed again. For example, when redeveloping Schultz School Senior Housing in Cape Girardeau, we were told that if we subsidized the project, jobs would come and economic development would occur. However, after spending $373,000 an apartment unit in Low Income Housing and Historic Preservation tax credits, permanent jobs did not. Giving $16.7 million of your tax dollars to rehab 45 units for 11 – 21 cents on the dollar return is outrageous. Over the course of the last two weeks there was an awakening that occurred with State Senators; they listened to your demands for responsible use of your hard earned tax dollars. “We must tie incentives to job creation, not activities that may or may not create jobs.”
The removal of $300 million in Aerotropolis warehouse tax credits from the special session is acknowledgement of this key principle. It is wrong, with our country facing massive manufacturing job losses to China, to make the central component of a “Made in Missouri” jobs plan the subsidization of the importation of China-made goods. The battle now goes to the House where House leaders, who put their campaign accounts above Missourians, have said we must give $300 million to China importation warehouses. [Emphasis Added]
The bill that passed the Senate, which House leaders oppose, also included real tax credit reforms saving taxpayers $947 million over 15 years. It caps and sunsets both the Historic Preservation tax credit and Low Income Housing tax credit. The reforms also include clawbacks for failing to create jobs. We have the ability to recapture any tax credits given out for noncompliance with the requirements, which specifically include creating the new jobs promised. We have succeeded in the Senate, and with your continued support and help, we can win the House and beat back the special interests and developers House leaders covet.
Your humble blogger agrees that there has been great success, but yet, there still lurks great danger. Buried in the verbiage of the Senate passed bill is language that describes how areas can be ‘blighted’ for their ‘potential’ to produce green energy. Read here.
I implore you to continue to contact your Missouri Representatives asking them to kill this bill and start fresh with a bill to truly reform Missouri’s Tax Credit process… …with out the Green Energy / Agenda 21 Trojan Horse.
As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO 65101, or e-mail me at: email@example.com or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.