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Missouri ag groups concerned over failure by lawmakers to extend key tax credits

Missouri ag groups concerned over failure by lawmakers to extend key tax credits

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JEFFERSON CITY — A “critical” series of tax credits benefiting farmers and small businesses in Missouri will expire later this year after lawmakers failed to extend their termination date before adjourning May 14.

At issue is House Bill 37, which includes a series of tax credit programs for soybean and corn producers, as well as meat processing companies.

The Senate sponsor of the legislation, Republican Mike Bernskoetter of Jefferson City, said one of his colleagues worked to block the bill’s passage after Bernskoetter wouldn’t allow him to add an amendment to the bill.

“There weren’t the typical safeguards for taxpayers on his amendment. We came to a stalemate,” Bernskoetter said of Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg.

The outcome has the Missouri Agricultural & Small Business Development Authority worried.

“With the failure of Senate Bill 37, three of our critical tax credits for agriculture and small businesses will sunset Dec. 31, 2021,” said MASBDA Executive Director Jill Wood. “Our agriculture stakeholders are undeniably concerned.”

Missouri Farm Bureau President Garrett Hawkins also is expressing concern.

“We are disappointed that the Legislature failed to extend the expiring MASBDA tax credit programs. Simply put, these credits work. Programs like the Meat Processing Facility Investment Tax Credit help small business grow, bring investment to our rural communities, and, in this specific case, help consumers have more local food choices. We are working with the Legislature to prioritize reauthorization of these important programs,” Hawkins said.

The failure to extend the tax breaks has sparked another call for a special session of the Legislature this summer.

Though lawmakers had four months to approve legislation earlier this year, members of the House and Senate have made at least five different requests to Gov. Mike Parson to schedule a return to the Capitol to take up various pieces of unfinished business.

The latest comes from Bernskoetter and Rep. Don Rone, R-Portageville, who say the tax credits are important for the agriculture community.

“These programs have brought $247 million in direct and indirect benefits to Missouri since 2000,” Rone said in a letter to Parson Wednesday.

“We’d like to get the ag stuff done,” Bernskoetter said.

Hoskins, whose amendment would have created a new rural development tax credit, disagreed with Bernskoetter on the legislative wrangling that left the legislation unfinished. He had attached the measure to another bill, but that was blocked from passage in the closing days of the session. The House and Senate were unable to find a compromise before time ran out, he said.

Hoskins, a certified public accountant, was hired by the Alabama-based Tidwell Group in September 2020 as a special consultant working remotely from his Johnson County home.

The company specializes in the affordable housing industry, with “expertise” in low-income housing tax credits and rural development, according to the company website.

Hoskins said the company would not have benefitted from his legislation.

“That’s just not true,” Hoskins said. “We’re a CPA firm. We’re not out selling tax credits.”

Updated at 8 p.m. with comments from Sen. Denny Hoskins.Kurt Erickson • 573-556-6181 @KurtEricksonPD on Twitter kerickson@post-dispatch.com

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