State tax-credit bill makes its way through senate, but comes with a price

Feb 15, 2013

Karl Skala
Karl Skala (in background, right), seen here talking with Columbia residents, says tax credits from Missouri Senate Bill 120 could promote business, but could come with a price.
Credit KBIA

Sponsored by Eric Schmitt of St. Louis County, the Missouri Export Incentive Act would create some new tax incentives, and put caps on others. The bill creating new tax credits cleared a Senate committee Wednesday.

The bulk of the bill is dedicated to tax credits for technology facilities and data storage centers. Exporters and self-employed Missourians also would benefit.

Mike Brooks, president of Regional Economic Development Incorporated, said Columbia already has one site for a data center certified and shovel-ready. Brooks said REDI is in early-stage discussions with consultants who are assessing Columbia’s feasibility as a data center location. In a 2007 report commissioned by REDI, data centers were identified as a target industry to attract businesses to the area.

Karl Skala is a member of the City of Columbia’s Planning and Zoning Commission, and chair of Boone County Smart Growth Coalition. Speaking broadly about this year’s round of tax incentive legislation, Skala said he favors giving cities new ways to attract or retain businesses. He also acknowledged that such tools often come with a price. 

I hope it does not come at the expense of other options that may also be a good thing for the local government and the businesses that we’re talking about,” Skala said.

In addition to the tax credits Senate Bill 120 would create, it also would place restrictions or caps on others -- including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, the Neighborhood Preservation Tax Credit, and programs for historic preservation and brownfield remediation.