The Missouri General Assembly has a constitutional duty to set the state’s operating budget for each fiscal year. It’s an important task, as state funding keeps our schools, hospitals and infrastructure fully functional for the benefit of all Missourians. However, it’s also important that government spending be efficient — after all, these projects and services are taxpayer-funded. As a representative body, the Legislature tries to invest in programs that offer a good return on the amount spent, so we can be good stewards of Missouri citizens’ tax dollars.
Keeping government efficient has always been one of my top priorities. That’s why the first bill I pre-filed for the upcoming legislative session aims to reform a terribly inefficient government program: tax credits for low-income housing. Senate Bill 28 institutes a reasonable cap on this program, which has ballooned to a much larger size than originally intended. The bill sets the cap at 50 percent of the amount of federal low-income housing tax credits allocated to Missouri for each calendar year.
I believe we should make improvements in this program because the tax credits are no longer fulfilling their intended purpose. Instead, most of the money is being siphoned away by housing developers. In a 2017 report, the state auditor found that only 42 cents of every dollar spent on these credits actually goes toward providing low-income housing. The governor has requested the Legislature work to establish a more efficient program for administering these tax credits. As we prepare for the upcoming legislative session, I look forward to exploring potential solutions to this problem so that we can make our government work more effectively.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.