In the 1950s, Missouri embraced sprawl like no other state. It built 33,000 miles of state-funded highways and roads and relegated public transportation funding to municipalities. The city of St. Louis suffered immense population loss from suburban sprawl, and as industries fell into decline, its building stock became neglected.
A 1998 tax credit that covered 25 percent of renovation costs for historic-designated buildings changed that.
"The program has done more than just save buildings. It has helped developers chart a course forward for St. Louis' most distinctive districts and neighborhoods, long after the industries that created them disappeared," writes Scott Ogilvie.
Fifteen years later, despite numerous success stories, the tax credit is under attack by Missouri Republicans who are concerned about revenues. Legislators have proposed cutting the credit to 1/3 of its current annual budget of $150 million.