This week the Missouri Senate debated but did not vote on HCB 3, a bill that would repeal a tax credit that is currently available to low-income renters who are elderly or disabled. The credit was approved by Missouri voters in the early 1970’s as part of a property tax “circuit breaker” ballot proposal.
Proponents of HCB 3 say renters should not be eligible for the tax credit since they don’t pay property taxes. Opponents, including the Missouri Catholic Conference (MCC), argue that landlords pass on some of the cost of the property tax they pay in the rent charged to tenants. Voters knew this when they passed the renters’ credit, the MCC points out.
In testimony before a Missouri Senate Committee, the MCC said the renters’ credit should be reviewed along with all of Missouri’s tax credits. There are ways the renters’ credit could be improved, the MCC acknowledged, but said it was not fair to single out the renters’ credit for repeal while the other credits are given a “free pass.”
Proponents of HCB 3 want to take the money saved by repealing the renters’ credit to fund in-home care for the elderly and disabled. The MCC strongly supports the in-home care program, but believes that funding is available in Missouri’s multi-billion-dollar state budget without eliminating the renters’ credit.
Many of you contacted your State Senators this week, urging opposition to HCB 3. Those calls and emails are having a positive impact. Hopefully, the Senate will either not take up HCB 3 again this session, or, if taken up, the credit will be reformed rather than repealed. If you have not yet contacted your Senator, you can do so here.
Over 100,000 poor Missourians rely on the assistance offered by the renters’ credit, meaning much is at stake in this debate.