Lawmakers send benevolent tax-credit bill to governor

By Emily Donaldson

JEFFERSON CITY — After 64 days in session, state lawmakers sent the first two bills of the session to the governor’s desk all within just one day.

The first bill, passed by the House Wednesday, would provide tax credits for amateur sporting events.

The legislation would give sports organizations, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association, money back on admission tickets sold for an event in the state. Under the bill, the amount of tax credits given to sporting organizations would be capped at $3 million annually.

Additionally, the bill includes a 50-percent tax credit for donations to committees working to attract sporting events to the state.

The second bill, passed by the Senate, would award tax credits for charitable causes, dubbed benevolent tax credits.

The benevolent tax credit bill, sponsored by Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Greene County, would award any tax credits for donations after Jan. 1. The new tax credits would expire on Dec. 31, 2019, upon which date they would have to be renewed to continue being awarded. These benevolent actions include donating to child advocacy centers, pregnancy resource centers, food pantries and other charitable organizations.

The most controversial part of the bill was the exclusion of incentives to adopt a child based on race.

Dixon said while the bill was in the House, lawmakers fabricated a date change and an amendment that removed the incentives that awarded credit for adopting a child based on race.

Sen. John Lamping, R-St. Louis County, is the father of an adopted Chinese daughter. He said he was disappointed in the removal of those incentives because most racial adoptions are done in state, not abroad.

“The reality is that most African-American adoptions are coming out of child services’ adoptions,” Lamping said.

Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis County, also said she was dismayed with state representatives for removing the adoption language.

“I think it is pathetic that it is out of the bill,” Chappelle-Nadal said.

Overall, however, Chappelle-Nadal said she was pleased with the fact that adoptions from in-state agencies still be would rewarded with tax credits.

“That is one less child that is going to be in the foster care system,” Chappelle-Nadal said. “That is one less child that is going to be found at a dumpster.”

Gov. Jay Nixon has 15 days to sign the bills. If Nixon does not sign or veto them in that period of time, they will become law by default.