Developers fight bill that would eliminate tax credits -

Developers fight bill that would eliminate tax credits

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By Lakisha Jackson By Lakisha Jackson

(KMOV) -- Debate in the Missouri House over the Low-income Housing Tax Credit could put hundreds of construction jobs on the line. Missouri is facing a half-billion dollar budget shortfall, and Gov. Jay Nixon says he needs to make cuts. A proposed House bill would cap some tax credits and get rid of others.

Some St. Louis-area residents expressed concern over the elimination of the tax credit. The historic Ville neighborhood in north St. Louis is working to revitalize the area, and without the tax credit, that effort could be thwarted.

Several homes on Dick Gregory Place in the Ville are being rehabbed with the assistance of the credit - at a cost of millions of dollars. It's good news for the neighborhood, as many residents are looking to reclaim its former glory. The Ville was once home to many prominent St. Louisans such as Chuck Berry, and also houses Sumner High School, the first high school for blacks west of the Mississippi River.

The tax credit is also good news for the construction workers involved in the project. Many of the workers would be back on the unemployment rolls if it were not for the tax credits. "This project helped me get back employed, so I can add to the economy in my own little way," said worker Damien Owens. He had been unemployed for six months and said he is glad to put his skills to work.

Owens and two others on his crew are back on the job because this rehab project was partially paid for with the housing credits.

A House committee heard testimony from developers who oppose these changes on Tuesday. The only tax credits spared under this bill include the Senior Citizens Property Tax Credit and the Homestead Preservation Tax Credit.

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