Missouri panel restarts housing tax credit dropped in 2017

Associated Press
The Rolla Daily News

KANSAS CITY — A state low-income housing tax credit sought by developers seeking to build affordable housing but often criticized by Missouri officials as inefficient has resumed after a three-year moratorium.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission has restarted the program, The Kansas City Star reports. The commission's decision came in a unanimous vote Friday. 

Developers and tenant advocates have noted that the supply of affordable housing in Missouri badly trails demand and developers say it's hard to make such ventures work financially without the credit.

Jeff Smith, executive director of the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, said about 100,000 people across Missouri are on a waiting list for affordable housing.

But the tax credit is resuming without legislative reforms that were once thought necessary to get the program running again. 

Then-Republican Gov. Eric Greitens zeroed it out in 2017, portraying developers and investors who bought the credits as "tax credit millionaires." Evaluations of the program by politicians in both parties have questioned whether the state gets enough in return for its investment in the tax credit.

The housing commission did adopt some changes, including a public scoring system for applicants that supporters say will provide more transparency about who gets the tax credits and why.