House Bill Could Create Tax Credits for Unrepresented Areas

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JEFFERSON CITY - Taxpayers in parts of southern Missouri may see tax credits coming their way as a result of a Missouri House bill.

A committee will hear HB 2066, also known as the "Patrick Henry No Taxation Without Representation Act," Tuesday night.

The bill would grant Missourians the right to receive a tax credit if a legislative vacancy for their district extends beyond 180 days.

Rep. Paul Fitzwater, R-Potosi, co-sponsored the bill and said its creation was prompted as a result of Governor Jay Nixon's slow progress scheduling special elections.

"If we have some vacated seats maybe the governor should do the right thing," he said. "Is someone up here [Jefferson City] working on their behalf? No they're not."

The bill would require the governor to issue a writ of election within 90 days after receiving the notice of vacancy. A special election would then have to be be held within 180 days.

"Our concern here is that there are people in those legislative districts that have no representation," Fitzwater said. "I get hundreds of emails or phone calls every month and I often wonder what are those people in those districts doing."

Rep. John Wright, D-Rocheport, says the bill is just another theatrical element.

"This happens more often than you might think because we have so many legislators. We've had at least three between the house and the senate and it's across the state," Wright said.

"There are both republican districts that are vacant and democratic districts that are vacant," he said.

Wright says legislators need to think about the costs of special elections.

"The costs of running special elections, which can run into the millions, come out of the taxpayer's pocket," he said. "The governor has acted appropriately to save taxpayer dollars."

Taxpayers in the vacant district would receive a credit if these requirements were not met.

Currently taxpayers in the 120th house district, which covers parts of Phelps and most of Crawford county have had no representative in office for almost one year.

This comes after Rep. Jason Smith left his seat in that district last June to become the United States representative for Missouri's eighth district.

The proposed tax credits would be refundable and would differ in amount based on the length of vacancy.

The governor's office did not return KOMU 8's calls about the bill.