Last night, after a long impasse, the Missouri Senate passed a Senate substitute to economic development bill HB 191. The bill reflects a legislative compromise reached on historic tax credits: the state's first cap on the program.
HB 191 places a $140 million cap on the annual issuance of historic tax credits, but exempts projects with qualified rehabilitation costs of $1.1 million or less -- the majority of projects -- from counting toward the cap. The figures will not be indexed to rise with inflation. The new rules won't go into effect until January 1, 2010. Honestly, I don't think that these changes will make much of an impact on the program.
The compromise was made possible when Senator Jason Crowell (R-Cape Girardeau), a staunch opponent of the program in the past, switched his position and began speaking in favor of the program on the Senate floor. Crowell and Senator Jeff Smith (D-St. Louis) worked with leadership and erstwhile historic tax credit foe Senator Brad Lager (R-Savannah) to forge an acceptable compromise. Without Crowell's switch, a compromise may have been impossible.
The bill now heads to the House for final approval.