Days after signing Boeing bill, Nixon reiterates pledge to work on tax credit reform

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Days after signing legislation to expand job creation tax credits by up to $1.7 billion for The Boeing Company, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon reiterated Friday his interest in seeking tax credit reform in the upcoming legislative session.

Speaking to reporters at an IBM facility in Columbia, Nixon said he is interested in refocusing on programs with economic return to the state with job creation requirements.

“I have made it clear over the last four and a half years that coming to a solution to bring those numbers down overall is important,” he said of the state’s overall tax credit system, one of the largest in the country. Asked specifically about low-income housing and historic development tax credits, Nixon noted that “neither of those programs have job creation requirements,” but added, “that isn’t to say they aren’t programs that have benefit.”

As part of a deal to avert his Boeing legislation being blocked in the Senate during special session, Nixon made a pledge to a handful of lawmakers to work on tax credit reform in the upcoming session – possibly coming up with a bill before lawmakers leave for legislative spring break in March.

Last week as part of his commitment, Nixon dispatched his chief of staff and top economic development aides to the Missouri Housing Development Commission meeting in Columbia in support of a plan to delay the decision about some $13.7 million worth of requests until March, giving members of the General Assembly time to move on reform legislation.

The behind the scenes deal between Nixon and Republican Senators regarding the low-income tax credits earned Nixon criticism from Democrats, many of whom are supportive of the programs. Kansas City Mayor Sly James, who was supportive of the Boeing deal for the St. Louis region despite no direct connection to his city, penned a blog post on Wednesday noting he had no indication that housing development tax credits might be put in limbo as part of the Boeing deal.

“When I agreed to support the St. Louis effort, there was no discussion or consultation about using or bartering Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to finance the Boeing deal,” he said. “I have and will continue to support reasonable economic development initiatives in this state, even when those projects might not be located in Kansas City proper, but would still benefit the our overall economy. I am compelled, however, to speak up when those economic development efforts barter away efforts to provide basic housing and services to the most needy of us.”