Greitens has upper hand in fight over low-income housing tax credit

Gov. Eric Greitens upset a bipartisan contingent of legislators when his interim appointees helped halt state low-income housing tax credits, an incentive that encourages developers to produce affordable housing for the working poor and elderly.

In response, the Senate sought to prevent Greitens’ appointees from ever serving on the commission that approves state low-income housing tax credits. Those three, Craig Porter, Alan Simpson and John Scariot, ended up resigning from the Missouri Housing Development Commission on Thursday.

Yet in many respects, how the Senate acted makes no difference: Greitens still possesses all the leverage to block the tax credits as long as he’s governor.

Regardless of whether the Senate voted down Greitens’ nominees or if they voluntarily resigned, the commission only has six out of 10 members — which is the exact number required to have a quorum under state law. But that threshold is only reached if Greitens shows up to meetings, which is a fairly rare occurrence.

Even if the governor did regularly show up, it’s highly unlikely his presence would prompt state low-income tax credits from being issued again. That’s because state law says that “no action shall be taken by the commission except upon the affirmative vote of at least six of the members.” Four out of the six current commission members, including Greitens, voted for the tax credit embargo.

One of the senators looking to reject Greitens’ three commision nominees, Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, acknowledged that the governor had the upper hand in this dispute.

“The bottom line of it is the governor always wins,” Schaaf said. “He’ll replace all these members of these boards and commissions eventually. He’ll get his way. There won’t be any more low-income tax credits.”

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio

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