From the Field: Missouri Governor and Housing Commission Vote to End State Housing Tax Credit

The Missouri Housing Development Commission (MHDC) voted on November 17 to end its state matching funding for the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC or housing credit), as part of authorizing its annual Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). The housing credit currently represents the state’s single largest investment in affordable housing production, projected to cost $140 million in 2018.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R), who began his first term in January, created a Committee for Simple, Fair and Low Taxes shortly after assuming office. That committee recommended ending the state housing credit in June. Mr. Greitens and other critics of the Missouri housing credit often cite a 2008 study released by then-Missouri Auditor Susan Montee (D) that found only 35 cents per dollar invested in the housing credit made its way directly to the development of housing, with the rest going to investors and syndicators.

This move by MHDC comes without a proposed alternative investment in affordable housing, despite the clear need for additional affordable housing production across the state. "Missouri has a severe affordable housing crisis and needs more than 125,000 units more of affordable and available housing when we look at households living at or below 30 percent of area median income," said Jeanette Mott Oxford, executive director of Empower Missouri, an NLIHC state partner. "There are tens of thousands of others in our state slightly better off than those households but still insecure related to housing. This instability impacts on physical and mental health outcomes, school success, and many other markers of community well-being. It's in the interest of every Missourian to invest in an adequate supply of decent and affordable housing."

Speaking recently to the Springfield News-Leader, Rita Baron, a partner at Four Corners Development in Springfield said, “I just hope that they understand by voting against the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, they are voting against low income families, seniors, veterans, disabled and special needs individuals. The LIHTC program has a positive impact on our communities. It provides more options and security for residents by decreasing poverty, increasing overall community health, economic investment, education, and [it] indirectly decreases crime.”

“This is the price we pay for the governor’s and attorney general’s inexperience. Instead of improving a program, they just throw it away. As a result, a lot of Missouri families who need affordable housing won’t be able to find it,” said State Senate Democratic Leader Gina Walsh (D-St. Louis County) in a written statement.

Advocates in Missouri are invited to join a webinar co-hosted by Empower Missouri and NLIHC on Tuesday, December 12 at 11:00 am ET / 10:00 am CT. Staff from Empower Missouri, Sarah Mickelson from NLIHC, and Jeff Smith from the Missouri Workforce Housing Association will provide an update on the state of the Missouri and federal LIHTC programs, as well as how advocates should take action. Olivia Barrow of Enterprise Community Partners (ECP) will also speak about ECP’s advocacy efforts on this issue. Click here to register for the webinar.*

For more information, contact Ms. Mott Oxford at: jeanette@empowermissouri.org


*The slides and the recording of this webinar can be found athttp://bit.ly/2AdT3Cu