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Commission begins review of Missouri's tax credits

file photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt
file photo: UPI/Bill Greenblatt

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – A commission created by Governor Jay Nixon to review Missouri's tax credits met today (Wednesday) for the first time.

The Missouri Tax Credit Review Commission is made up of current and former lawmakers and leaders from groups representing education, labor and private enterprise. Nixon wants them to decide which of the state's 61 tax credits should stay and which should be dumped.

"We're projected to spend more than twice as much on tax credits as we are projected to spend on all programs through the Department of Health and Senior Services, (that's) an entire department," Nixon said.

Earlier this year, lawmakers rejected Nixon's call to cap all incentives and transfer oversight to his Economic Development department.

A group of Republicans in the Missouri Senate has opposed expansion of tax credits the past two years, saying that they're costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars. State Senator Jason Crowell (R, Cape Girardeau), who is not a member of the governor's commission, has proposed legislation that would make all tax credits subject to legislative oversight.

Meanwhile, a state audit released today finds that companies receiving Enterprise Zone and Enhanced Enterprise Zone tax credits have been overstating the number of jobs they've created while receiving the tax breaks.

Nixon is giving the commission until Thanksgiving to craft its recommendations.