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State Rep. Swinger Files Storm Shelter Tax Deduction Bill

With the May tornado that hit Joplin highlighting the need for better storm preparedness, State Representative Terry Swinger has pre-filed a bill that would provide a tax deduction to residents who build a storm shelter onto their home.  As KSMU’s Matthew Barnes reports, this isn’t the first time Swinger has tried to gain support for this measure.

Representative Terry Swinger originally filed a similar piece of legislation after a tornado devastated Caruthersville in 2006. That bill would have given a tax credit to anyone who built a storm shelter. However, the bill didn’t make it to the governor’s desk because it hit a roadblock in the senate. Swinger says the 2006 tornado and this year’s tornado in Joplin demonstrate the importance of families having a safe place to go in the event of dangerous weather.

“Living through that tornado in Caruthersville, after visiting the Joplin area twice and seeing all the destruction damage, I’ve decided to introduce the bill again, but this time as a tax deduction as opposed to a tax credit, because it won’t cost the state as much money. It will bring more awareness to being safe and more awareness to how to get prepared for a tornado,” Swinger says.

If passed, the bill would allow any resident who has constructed a storm shelter at their home to deduct from  the construction costs or $5,000, whichever is less.

This would give residents up to a $300 dollar return on their investment, which Swinger thinks will be enough to encourage people to build. 

“Hopefully it will incentivize folks, and if we get enough of them participating in the program we could even go back to the legislature and try to change it again. But, since the tax credit would not get the support it needs in the senate, I am hoping the tax deduction will,” Swinger says.

Swinger is pre-filing his bill, and lawmakers will take it under consideration when the legislative session begins January 4th. For KSMU News, I’m Matthew Barnes.