KCUR News
8:31 am
Wed October 14, 2009

Lawsuit Seeks To Overturn Tax Incentives To Stop St. Louis Development

St. Louis, MO – Two St. Louis residents have asked a court to strike down Missouri's latest economic incentives law in an attempt to halt tax credits for a massive redevelopment project.

A lawsuit against the state claims the tax credits for assembling large tracts of land violate a constitutional ban on granting public money to private entities.

The suit also claims the law expanding the annual tax credits, passed this year, is unconstitutional because the legislation included too many topics and went beyond its original intent.

An attorney for St. Louis residents Barbara Manzara and Keith Marquard said Tuesday that they are trying to stop a north St. Louis project by developer Paul McKee Jr. But the lawsuit is broad enough to possibly jeopardize other economic development
incentives.

"This may bring to a head the issue of tax credits in the state of Missouri," said attorney Irene Smith, a former St. Louis Board of Aldermen member who lost a mayoral bid earlier this year. "Tax credits are illegal; they're unconstitutional."

The lawsuit cites a provision in the Missouri Constitution that says the Legislature "shall have no power to grant public money ... to any private person, association or corporation."