A state audit of Missouri’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit paints a picture of a runaway program that has cost far more than projected, tops all other states in spending and produces “a very low return on investment” for taxpayers.
Missouri has authorized $842 million more than projected when the Legislature passed a law in 1997 that allowed the state to match a federal credit for housing development, the audit found. Missouri’s $172 million in authorizations in 2012 gave it the highest per-capita outlay in the nation at $28.60 per resident.
Only about 42 cents of every dollar Missouri spends on the program actually goes into construction. The rest of the money is lost to federal taxes, middlemen known as syndicators and a discount that stems from selling the credits up front but parceling them out over 10 years.