Lawmakers mixed in reaction to audit on tax credits

Some Missouri lawmakers heard echoes of past attempts to reform the state’s tax credit programs in a report issued last week by State Auditor Nicole Galloway. Others essentially shrugged at the report, suggesting they would wait until Gov. Eric Greitens’ Committee for Simple, Fair, and Low Taxes reported its recommendations for tax credit programs in the state.

Galloway’s report said total tax credit redemptions have increased an average of 2.8 percent per year over the past decade and have exceeded $500 million every year since 2009. It also reported tax credits that have been authorized or issued in previous years — but haven’t been redeemed — have resulted in significant liabilities worth about $3 billion as of June 30.

But Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, doesn’t think Galloway’s report will have any immediate impact on lawmakers.

“And I don’t mean that as a slight,” he said, noting that former auditors released similar reports that led to little change.

Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, said Saturday he is waiting for the report from Greitens’ committee to see the newest information and suggestions.

Greitens’ order said the committee’s goals included:

  • Comparing Missouri’s tax credit programs and its tax rates with those of its peer states.
  • Assessing the economic impact of existing state tax credit programs.
  • Assessing the possibility of financing cuts to overall state tax rates, using cuts to tax credit programs.
  • Recommending comprehensive tax reform legislation to the governor, no later than June 30.

Read more: Jefferson City News Tribune

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