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Thousands of Missourians Could Lose Tax Credit

As Missouri lawmakers try to trim the budget, affordable housing advocates say one idea on the table would hurt seniors and people with disabilities. (aarp.org)
As Missouri lawmakers try to trim the budget, affordable housing advocates say one idea on the table would hurt seniors and people with disabilities. (aarp.org)
April 17, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Senate is set to vote on legislation that would end a property tax credit for about 100,000 people.

House Committee Bill 3 would repeal the so-called Circuit Breaker Property Tax Credit - a state program for low-income people with disabilities or who are age 65 and older. The Circuit-Breaker program allows homeowners to receive tax credits of up to $1,100, and renters up to $750.

Lawmakers in the House recently voted to take away the tax credit for renters, and to set aside the money for a Missouri Senior Services Protection Fund. But Jay Hardenbrook, associate state director of advocacy at AARP Missouri, said the move hurts seniors and also veterans with disabilities.

"What happened with the budget in the House is that they didn't want to cut people off of the Medicaid Long-term Services and Supports Program,” Hardenbrook said. "And so, as a way to free up some money to be able to do that, they have proposed cutting every renter off of the Circuit-Breaker program."

Proponents of the bill say it will provide more than $50 million for in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities, and would replace cuts proposed by Gov. Eric Greitens. They point out that repealing the property tax credit would provide an immediate increase in state revenue.

Hardenbrook called the idea "robbing Peter to pay Paul."

"So, it's about 100,000 people throughout the state, and by putting the money back in, they're proposing to not have to cut between 7,000 and 20,000 people off of the Long-Term Services and Supports Program. Now, we think that's a kind of false choice,” he said.

Hardenbrook said people who get the tax credit put it back into the economy by making needed repairs on their homes or vehicles, or making purchases that they've been putting off.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO