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20 Missouri mayors ask state commission to reconsider cuts to low-income housing tax credits

Twenty mayors from across Missouri have signed a letter asking the Missouri Housing Development Commission to reconsider their cuts to the low-income housing tax credit program.

“This is not a failing program,” Columbia Mayor Brian Treece insisted. “For many persons in our community, having affordable housing is the bare minimum before you can go find a job.

ABC 17 News reported on Friday when the Missouri Housing Development Commission voted to stop issuing those state tax credits. Six people, including Gov. Eric Greitens, voted in favor of an amendment that would eliminate those credits in 2018. The amendment was proposed by former state Sen. Jason Crowell. He was appointed to the commission in September by Greitens.

“There are several procedural and substantive errors with how that commission reached its decision. You had a number of commissioners that were appointed without Senate confirmation,” Treece said. “At the same time, let’s keep in mind, the Missouri General Assembly had already approved $200 million dollars of low-income housing tax credits to be assigned. That money does not evaporate simply because the commission chose not to issue them.”

The state tax credits have been criticized for being inefficient. In a statement, Gov. Greitens said the move Friday saved “tens of millions of dollars” and called the low-income housing tax credit a “failing program.”

“We’re united in saying it doesn’t seem to be failing where we live,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James said at Monday’s meeting. “It’s one of those tools that we have to keep people from failing.”

“If there’s going to be a change in this tax credit, what we would request at bare minimum is a reasonable, functional solution to the problem that these tax credits solve,” he added. “And if they can’t come up with a solution to solve the problem then they should leave the solution that we have where it is.”

Treece echoed James’ sentiments.

“If there is a problem with the program, they have to amend it, not end it,” he said.

As ABC 17 News previously reported, many people were incredibly upset after Friday’s controversial vote.

“This isn’t only going to affect us now but our future. We have Baby Boomers coming of age and that will increase the need for housing like this,” Columbia resident Norma Crow said. “I believe that if some of the members [on the commission] had mothers and fathers who live in low-income housing they could better appreciate what’s at stake here.”

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