JEFFERSON CITY | Rep. Trent Skaggs, weary of Republicans slashing Medicaid but proposing tax credits for every industry in sight, found a way to stop one proposal in its tracks.
In debate last week on a proposal to increase the tax credit for companies that produce movies in Missouri, Skaggs offered an amendment the Moral Majority would love.
“No tax credit shall be issued,” the amendment said, “for any film production that does not promote Missouri values (including) the sanctity of marriage and abstinence from illegal controlled substance usage.”
“Those are the issues that they run their campaigns on and it appeals to the constituency that they have kowtowed to,” said Skaggs, a North Kansas City Democrat. “So I was trying to give them a choice: They could stand up for Missouri values or support the film industry and the jobs that could potentially create.”
Skaggs argued that the Republican-controlled legislature should not be subsidizing Steven Spielberg when it had eliminated health care for more than 100,000 poor people and was satisfied funding higher education at its 2002 level.
As Skaggs expected, the amendment left the social conservatives who dominate the House utterly flummoxed. Rep. Bryan Pratt, a Blue Springs Republican, tried to have the amendment ruled out of order, but he was overruled. Others argued that it infringed on free speech rights.
But there was no stomach for taking a vote on whether to subsidize movies that do not promote Missouri values. The bill was pulled from the floor with the amendment still pending.
“I don’t know why they were so afraid,” Skaggs said. “I guess they just don’t want to make tough decisions.”