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RCGA lauds Sen. Smith for work to preserve historic-tax credit

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 7, 2009 - The St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association has just announced that it is honoring Missouri state Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, with the group's 2009 Lewis & Clark Statesman Award "for his legislative efforts benefiting economic development in the St. Louis region."

In particular, Smith is praised for his work during the last legislative session to protect the state's Historic Preservation Tax Credits, a key tool in the city's redevelopment.

Smith was a key player in the successful Senate effort to overcome a filibuster by rural outstate Republicans who wanted to curb use of the program.

Said Smith in a statement: “The Historic Preservation Tax Credit program has been the most successful state program to help revive the city of St. Louis, and I am pleased I was able to work with lawmakers to reach a reasonable compromise sustaining the program, which is a national model.

He credited the program with creating "thousands of jobs across the state" and spawning "billions of dollars worth of development, not just downtown but in neighborhoods like Benton Park, Soulard, Shaw, and Forest Park Southeast."

Smith also was honored by his proposal of "angel tax credits to spur investment in early-stage companies."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.