3 min read
Posted on 07.20.11
  • 3 min read
  • Posted on 07.20.11

Earlier today, I attended a meeting of state legislative leaders who announced that they had reached a complicated compromise on a range of economic development issues. The meeting was held at the City's Lambert airport to highlight a key component of the agreement: Tax credits, worth $360 million over 16 years, to reduce costs of flying goods abroad from Lambert, and subsidize the cost of building warehouses to house foreign trade. Armed with the compromise and flanked by several of the region's state senators, the legislative leaders announced their intention to reconvene in a special legislative session to approve its details. Shortly afterward, Governor Nixon agreed.

I my remarks at the airport, which you can read elsewhere on this page, I congratulated the legislative leaders who worked with their colleagues to reach this agreement. But, I also want to thank the dozens of interested people and groups who each set aside some important things in order to reach an overall agreement. Such is the stuff of compromise.

The Post-Dispatch's Tim Logan has been following this story closely and has written a summary of the agreement:

* Cap historic tax credits at $80 million, with a separate $10 million cap for projects receiving less than $275,000 in credits. Currently, historic credits are capped at $140 million, with small projects exempt from the cap.

* Cap low-income housing tax credits at $110 million for a category of credits worth 9 percent of a project's value and $20 million for a category worth 4 percent. Currently the caps are $130 million and $60 million, respectively.

* It would end the 4 percent low-income housing tax credits after 2015, and require re-authorization of both the historic and 9 percent low income programs in 2018. It would also prohibit combing historic and 9 percent low-income credits on the same project.

* It would create the Aerotropolis Tax Credits, worth $360 million over 16 years, to reduce costs of flying goods abroad from Lambert, and subsidize the cost of building warehouses to house foreign trade.

* It would create the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act, dedicating a stream of tax revenue from science and technology companies into a fund for startups.

* It would cut the annual cap on the Distressed Areas Land Assemblage Tax Credit to $15 million from $20 million

* It would make renters ineligible for the Senior Citizen Property Tax Credit.

* It would give sales tax exemptions to data centers to locate in Missouri.

* It creates Amateur Sports Event Attraction Tax Credits, capped at $3 million a year for six years.

* It would change the structure of the Missouri Housing Development Commission, replacing the current board of five statewide elected officials and four appointees of the Governor with a six-member panel. Two members would be appointed by the House Speaker, Senate President and Governor.

(If these details incorrect, I am certain that Rim ' and I ' will hear from someone.)

This is a very important step forward for the state and for the city. What we give up in particulars of the compromise, we more than regain in the whole. Lambert, for example, is a city asset whose worth will be substantially increased by positioning it as a hub for international trade.

Finally, an unreported element of this agreement and the governor's call for a special session is that the debate about the return of local control of the city's police department will be allowed to reach a vote. I am confident that the votes exist to approve it.

A link to Mr. Logan's story is here: http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/article_c8524686-b2e7-11e0-8760-0...