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Friday, May 11, 2007


The House of Representatives on May 10 gave final approval to a massive package of tax breaks that will cost the state at least $103 million a year in lost revenue. HB 327 was sent to the governor following a week-long stalemate between the House and Senate over the cost.

The bill originally expanded credits available for Gov. Matt Blunt’s Quality Jobs program, which was created in 2005. The bill quickly was loaded up with other tax breaks, including those for land developers, ranchers, alternative fuel vehicles and movie producers. The expectation was that many of the breaks would be removed from a compromise version of the bill to make it more affordable. However, that didn’t occur.

One provision providing up to $12 million a year in breaks -- $100 million total over several years – appears to be targeted for a single developer, Paul McKee Jr. of St. Charles County. Since January, McKee has given $20,000 to Blunt, $10,000 to Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder and $3,188 to Senate President Pro Tem Michael Gibbons, according to The Associated Press.

The bill also eliminates the crime of ticket scalping, the practice of reselling tickets to concerts and sporting events at a price higher than face value. That provision was sought by Ticketmaster, a client of the governor’s lobbyist brother, Andy Blunt. To prevent scalpers from snatching up large quantities of tickets before the public has an opportunity to buy them at the normal price, the bill prohibits people from buying more than 20 tickets at a time. The way the provision is worded, however, apparently prohibits Missouri’s professional sports teams from selling season tickets, which typically come in large blocks.

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