Last week, I was quoted in several news articles stating I was cautious of the governor’s tax reform proposal. Since those articles were published, I have received numerous emails regarding the issue. Therefore, I thought this week, we would take a look at several of the tax reform proposals introduced in the Missouri Senate.
Economic development has always been my top priority as an elected official. One of the top issues for companies looking to expand or relocate to Missouri is their desire for a qualified and skilled workforce. Even with this knowledge, the governor’s proposed budget calls for another funding cut to Missouri’s colleges and universities. These institutions are now operating with the same level of state support they received 20 years ago. A funding cut to our higher education institutions sends the wrong message to companies looking to expand to Missouri. If we cannot produce the qualified workers these companies need, they will take their jobs and resources elsewhere. We cannot allow this to happen; we must continue to do everything we can to make our state attractive in the eyes of businesses and job creators.
While discussing any type of tax reform at the state level, we must be cautious because we do not know the full implications of the federal tax cut on Missouri’s ability to collect revenue. In addition, Missourians will benefit from the first income tax cut in 100 years as a result of the passage of Senate Bill 509 during the 2014 legislative session. While the proposal was passed some time ago, the state needed to fulfill funding obligations for the highway patrol, education, social services and other state departments before the bill could take effect. Missourians should already be noticing the effects of these two provisions in their paychecks.
Currently, there are three tax reform proposals being discussed and debated in one of the Senate’s legislative committees, and these proposals will soon be moving to the floor of the Missouri Senate for consideration. We need to make sure these bills are revenue neutral. If one group gets a tax cut, then another group must have its taxes raised in order to remain revenue neutral. We need to make sure this does not end up hurting Missouri’s citizens and businesses.
The governor and several senators have been working hard on these tax reforms. Their proposals will soon be placed on the Senate Calendar for debate, and I look forward to seeing the details and the specifics of their hard work. I support cutting taxes on hard-working Missourians, but we must do so in a manner that protects Missouri’s bottom line and ensures we have the funding necessary to provide vital services to all Missourians. I value your input on this tough issue and I look forward to hearing from you as my colleagues and I continue to do everything we can to move Missouri forward.