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by Celeste Reuter, Senior Vice President Governmental and Legislative Affairs
REALTORS® Support Cooperation of City-County Economic Development Agencies
On June 18, the St. Louis County Council approved the Agreement by a vote of 5-2. The Board of Aldermen also voted in favor of the measure at their June 14 meeting.
Beginning July 1, 10 employees of the City’s St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) and 30 employees of the St. Louis County Economic Council (SLCEC) will begin working as one entity known as the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership (SLEDP). The new Partnership, which was strongly supported by County Executive Charlie Dooley, Mayor Francis Slay, and the St. Louis Regional Chamber, will be housed in Clayton and will be led by Denny Coleman, President of the SLCEC, and Rodney Crim, current head of SLDC. While the County and City will maintain their own individual economic development agencies, the move unifies the two agencies’ business development, marketing, and entrepreneurship operations.
Missouri Legislature End of Session Report The Missouri Legislative Session for 2013 ended on May 17. The following excerpts are from a report by Missouri REALTORS® Chief Lobbyist Sam Licklider: The final two days of the session were consumed with the broad tax credit issue, keeping the Senate from effectively killing Historic and Low Income tax credits and insuring that real estate investment was not improperly locked out of the New Market’s tax credit program. Those who wanted real estate investment blocked put up a very good fight but they could not overcome the support that the Association mustered from our final Call for Action which reached a significant portion of the House, I had any number of Representatives come out and tell me they had heard from their constituents and they would support our position.
This limited merger of operations required the passage of an Intergovernmental Agreement by both the St. Louis County Council and the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen. Proponents of the agreement cited the advantages of leveraging expertise from each jurisdiction to help the region as a whole, the ability to present opportunities to outside businesses as a region, rather than as separate entities, and streamlining of the development process by providing one front door for the region, rather than two. Concerns raised during the debate included the manner in which this new partnership would affect the city and county individually, especially economically disadvantaged areas. Some are fearful that this is a step toward reincorporation of the City into the County. Others are hopeful that is the case.
Home Inspector Licensing: Two bills were introduced, HB 755 by Rep. Steve Lynch and SB 321 by Senator Kurt Schaefer. The bills were based on a House Committee Substitute prepared in the 2012 session that was approved by some of the Home Inspector groups. Neither bill was heard in committee.
Prior to the June votes on the Agreement, the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® voiced its support of the move via a letter which was sent to each individual county councilmember and city alderman. The following is an excerpt from the letter:
Certificate of Value: For at least the last 40 years, legislation has been introduced to require some form of sales price disclosure on real property transactions. The legislation generally requires that an affidavit be filed as a condition precedent to recording. This year was no different. Rep. Kirkton introduced HB 207 but no action was taken on it.
“As part of its 2013 Local Legislative and Regulatory Policy Agenda, the St. Louis Association of REALTORS® adopted the following statement: ‘Recognizing that a healthy economy is the foundation for a vibrant real estate market, the Association shall work with stakeholders with similar interests to improve the regional economic climate to attract and retain business.’ We support increased cooperation and a spirit of regionalism which we believe will result in more economic development and job opportunities for our citizens, giving a larger segment of the population the ability to realize the American Dream of Homeownership.
Financing State Government: The General Assembly passed HB 253, which makes several major changes dealing with both income and sales tax. Among other things the bill phases in a reduction of “pass through income” that is subject to state tax so that within five years only 50% of that income is subject to tax. While the bill has sales tax language it did not impose a sales tax on services, the sales tax issue was primarily the adoption of language to allow sales tax to be collected on internet sales. It is assumed that Governor Nixon will veto the bill because of the significant reduction in state revenues. Recording Fees: Rep. Bart Korman, R. High Hill, introduced HB 486 at the request of his regional economic development agency. The bill imposed a recording fee in counties of the second or third class of $4.00 ($2.00 to be used by the county for economic development and $2.00 transferred to the regional planning commission). The Association testified in opposition to the bill because it was effectively a tax on the transfer of real property and prohibited by
We believe the proposed Intergovernmental Agreement between the St. Louis Development Corporation and the St. Louis County Economic Council is a step toward positive growth in the St. Louis region and the Association encourages passage of this legislation.”
The report below generally follows our Legislative and Regulatory Policy Agenda, if you need further information on any of the issues please send me an email or give me a call.
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