Low-Income Housing Tax Credits Under Fire From Governor And Attorney General

By Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

Potential developers wanting to build low-income housing may be packing their bags and moving out of the urban core as Gov. Eric Grietens and Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley vote against funding the housing program.

On Friday, Nov. 17, the Missouri Housing Development Commission voted 6-2 to not to allocate $140 million in funding for the state’s low-income housing tax credit program to match federal funding.

“For every dollar that went into the program, only about 42 to 55 cents actually went to building housing for poor people. We zeroed out this failing program, and saved tens of millions of dollars. No. More. Giveaways,” Grietens said.

Greitens cast the deciding vote to approve the motion by former Republican state senator and Greitens appointee Jason Crowell to fully fund federal tax credits, but provide no funds for the state’s match.

A vote to issue a notice of funding availability at a future commission meeting is still needed before the tax credit allocation is final.
Former Republican State Senator Jason Crowell’s amended plan states that no state tax credits are “authorized under this Qualified Allocation Plan to fund affordable housing.” Crowell, appointed in early September, has been a long-time critic of the tax credit program and previously sat on the Governor’s Committee on Simple, Fair and Low Taxes.

That committee in June released a report that includes the credit return rate figures that Greitens cited. The report stated the Missouri tax credit program for low-income housing is an inefficient use of public funds, and estimated the program has led to the construction of only 33 percent more affordable housing units than would have been constructed with the federal program alone.