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Review finds tax breaks for low-income, elderly & disabled might increase

By Marshall Griffin, KWMU

Jefferson City, MO – A joint legislative committee has finished evaluating which Missouri state tax credits should be kept, changed or discontinued.

Members of the Joint Committee on Tax Policy reviewed 13 tax credits during their final meeting of the year on Wednesday, and made various recommendations on their status.

But State Senator John Griesheimer (R, Washington) doesn't think any major changes should be made without information on the economic impact of the credits.

"I would rather see the report when it comes out from the Office of Administration, and see what their advice is and their recommendations are," Griesheimer said.

Among the committee's recommendations is one that would increase property tax breaks for disabled, elderly and low-income homeowners.

State Senator Joan Bray (D, St. Louis) says it's a very popular program.

"It costs the state budget about $90 million every year...it's very helpful to folks staying in their home, but the problem that everyone sees is that the amount of break it's giving hasn't really kept pace with the rise in property taxes," Bray said.

As a result, the committee is recommending increasing the tax credit from $750 to $1,000 per year.

The committee also recommended allowing other tax breaks to sunset when their term expires.

All recommendations will be forwarded to lawmakers for the 2008 legislative session, which begins in January.