Millions of dollars in tax credits for low-income housing construction in Missouri became reality Friday, three months after they were delayed by a deal to pass an incentive package for Boeing.
The Missouri Housing Development Commission unanimously endorsed issuing about $14 million in annual tax credits for about 1,600 housing units. The vote came about three months after Gov. Jay Nixon and some Republican senators delayed the credits in an unsuccessful bid to lure production of a Boeing aircraft with a $1.7 billion incentive plan.
Although they are two separate programs, the housing aid and Boeing incentives were informally linked by the Democratic governor and the GOP legislators, who have been pushing for several years to reduce the state’s tax credit liability on low-income housing and historical building renovations.
Republican Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who sits on the commission, cast the lone “no” vote against delaying the tax credits in December.
Kinder voted Friday to move forward with the 32 projects, which he said are behind schedule and could face losing financing, but not before chastising Nixon.
“The decision to delay funding as part of a backroom deal was a dubious one from the beginning,” he said. “It degrades this commission.”
Commission executive director Kip Stetzler declined comment on Kinder’s remarks, but added that he was not aware of any financial concerns or obstacles related to the tax credit delay.
A spokesman for Nixon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The low-income housing credits approved Friday are projected to cost about $140 million over a ten-year period. Fifteen are in either St. Louis or Kansas City, with the remaining 17 located throughout the state.
One of the senators who negotiated with Nixon on the Boeing incentives said the commission’s decision to authorize the projects was expected.
“I have to say that the governor really did keep his word and gave it a good effort. It is just not to be,” said Sen. Rob Schaaf, a St. Joseph Republican.
The low-income and historic building renovation programs comprised $223 million of the $513 million in Missouri tax credits redeemed in the 2013 fiscal year.
But the Republican-led House has been unwilling to go along with the deep cuts that the GOP senators have advocated, creating an impasse in the Legislature. House members argue the programs are beneficial and generate economic activity.
Schaaf said it doesn’t appear lawmakers can come to a consensus on the issue this year.
The housing commission on Friday also approved $1.3 million in funding for shelters that house victims of domestic violence. The commission’s staff earlier this year rejected issuing grants for 15 domestic violence centers because of a funding cut by the federal government.
The commission voted to fund all of the shelters that received grants last year at their current spending level. Stetzler said the commission is working on a permanent funding solution to compensate for the reduction in federal dollars.