The benevolent tax credits are being eliminated cut by cruel cut. Last year, we lost the food pantry credit. This year, legislators let expire a tax credit for pregnancy resource centers. These credits are being held hostage in order to leverage what some call “global tax credit reform.” Reforming Missouri’s tax credits is certainly a good idea. There are more than 60 of them costing the state more than $520 million annually in lost tax revenue. Some, such as the historic preservation credit, drain big chunks of money from the state treasury. But the benevolent credits are small – the food pantry and pregnancy resource credits are each capped at $2 million a year – and provide much-needed assistance to some of Missouri’s most vulnerable citizens.
Next year, the MCC will try to restore the food pantry and pregnancy resource credits as well as other credits that assist the poor. In many ways these credits are more effective than a direct appropriation of public money into a government program. They leverage private investment by encouraging more charitable donations to not-for-profit agencies that are often more effective than government in helping the poor and vulnerable.