Lawmakers to consider ending tax break for seniors who rent
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Some Republican lawmakers in Missouri want to end a tax break for low-income senior citizens who live in rental housing, marking the latest attempt by the GOP-led Legislature to limit benefits for the elderly and disabled.
Republican Sen. Wayne Wallingford is sponsoring a measure to make the so-called “circuit breaker” tax credit only available to homeowners during the 2019 tax year, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The proposal would save the state an estimated $52 million.
Wallingford said Missouri can’t afford the program under which an estimated 91,000 low-income seniors who rent qualify for an average credit of roughly $500.
Single renters are eligible for the tax credit if their income is at $27,500 or below, and married renters qualify with incomes at $29,500 or below.
“This, I believe, is a tax credit program that’s been sorely in need of reform for some time,” said Republican Sen. Bob Onder.
Lawmakers have threatened to limit the tax break program before. In 2017, legislators debated reducing the tax credit as a way to restore cuts to personal care services that affected several thousand disabled and elderly residents.
Democratic Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said she’s been fighting opposition to the tax credit for a decade. Nasheed plans to end the legislation through a filibuster.
“We have a lot of individuals on fixed incomes. We have used it in the past for renters and I think we should continue to use it,” Nasheed said. “Seniors are struggling every day.”
Supporters of the tax credit say the payouts allow disabled and elderly residents to stay comfortably in their homes instead of paying for expensive nursing homes.
The Senate Ways and Means Committee could vote the measure to the Senate floor as early as next week.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com