Mo. home buyers could be eligible for tax break

AP News
Posted: Nov 24, 2009 5:40 PM

Missouri residents who buy a house in 2010 could get a property tax break.

Gov. Jay Nixon and State Treasurer Clint Zweifel, both Democrats, proposed Tuesday having a state housing commission pay the property taxes for several thousand low- and moderate-income people who buy a house next year.

The proposal could cover 9,000 to 11,000 households and cost $15 million. The Missouri Housing Development Commission, which would need to approve the idea, would pay for the tax break using an agency reserve fund.

Housing commissioners are scheduled to meet in December. Zweifel is the panel's chairman and Nixon is one of the board members, along with the lieutenant governor, attorney general and six people appointed by the governor.

The housing agency uses tax credits and tax-free bonds to help finance the construction of affordable houses and apartments.

Nixon said using the reserve fund to help people buy homes would strengthen Missouri's economy.

"Because this is so vital to our state's economic growth, we want to do everything feasible to encourage people to buy homes and make it easier for homeowners to save money and energy resources," he said.

Under the proposal announced Tuesday, those buying a new or existing house would be eligible to have $1,250 paid by the state panel. They could get an extra $500 if the house is energy-efficient or if they take steps to make the building more energy-efficient within 60 days of the closing.

Energy-efficiency improvements would include installing high-performance windows and programmable thermostats as well as more efficient water heaters, toilets and lights. It also would cover sealing of heating and air conditioning ducts and insulating water heater pipes.

The income thresholds for the tax break would vary based upon where the house is located. The maximum household incomes would range from $58,300 to $98,560.