Friday, December 19, 2008

Crowell bill targets taxpayer handouts to pro sports teams

SB 113, prefiled by Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, takes aim at the kind of charity that the Missouri Development Finance Board recently gave to the Kansas City Chiefs. The following news release was issued Thursday:

Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, today called for fundamental reform of the Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB). The MDFB recently approved $25 million in tax credits for the Kansas City Chiefs.
“In this tight economy, there are families throughout Missouri who are struggling to pay the bills and are worried about their jobs,” said Sen. Crowell. “We are facing a $342 million shortfall in 2009 and a large shortfall in 2010. It is not the time to be spending limited taxpayer dollars on a professional sports team.”
While some of the funding will go towards improvements at Arrowhead Stadium, a portion of the money will be used to build a new Chiefs training camp in St. Joseph. According to Jason Noble of the Kansas City Star, the Chiefs will “chip in $10 million toward a new $13.45 million indoor training facility at Missouri Western State University,” which will be used by the Chiefs only three weeks a year and will require either private funds of $3.45 million or an additional state appropriation in that amount to make up the funding gap.
Sen. Crowell recently prefiled Senate Bill 113 that would repeal the provision that currently allows the MDFB to approve large tax credit awards. The bill limits the board to the standard $10 million dollar annual cap on issuance of development fund contribution tax credits. Currently, the board has the ability to exceed the annual spending cap with the agreement of the commissioner of Administration, the director of the Department of Economic Development and the director of the Department of Revenue. Sen. Crowell seeks to eliminate this provision and replace it with legislative approval.
“We are the ones that must pass a balanced budget and thus should be the ones approving these projects,” said Sen. Crowell. “At this point it is my hope that the Commissioner of Administration, the Department of Economic Development, and the Department of Revenue do not allow the MDFB to again exceed its cap of $10 million and deny these tax credits. Twenty-five million dollars spent on the Chiefs today is $25 million we must cut from Medicaid, education, or autism funding tomorrow. The process which allows an expenditure of this type to occur without legislative approval and review is wrong and must be reformed.”
“Missouri is one of the 10 best economically situated states in the nation right now thanks to careful and responsible spending,” said Sen. Crowell. “This pattern of fiscal responsibility will not continue if we continue to allow boards to spend like there is no tomorrow.”

No comments: