**This article was originally published in the August 10, 2013 issue of the Lee’s Summit Tribune**
State Senator Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, recently (8-6) refuted the governor’s claims that House Bill 253 will harm education funding in Missouri. HB 253 was designed specifically to take tax cuts from future growth, not current revenue numbers.
“First and foremost, every Missourian deserves broad-based tax reform,” said Sen. Kraus. “It is not only possible, but likely — based on other states’ experiences — that those reforms will grow revenue, not reduce it.”
HB 253 has built-in triggers, so that state revenue must grow before the full tax cuts kick in. Missouri’s revenue has grown 26 of the last 30 years, and has grown by more than $100 million in 23 of the last 30. Over the 10-year phase-in of HB 253, Missouri’s revenue would grow by at least $1 billion to easily account for any projected revenue loses.
“Revenue will not drop under HB 253,” said Sen. Kraus. “Education funding is, and always will be, a Senate Appropriations decision and members of that committee will not have less of a pot to work from when they make that decision going forward.”
Missouri currently ranks 47th in gross domestic product (GDP), is losing jobs to neighboring states and is not keeping up with other states in population growth. All these factors currently reduce the amount of revenue available for education funding. HB 253 will provide incentives for businesses and residents to come to, stay in, or return to Missouri, which will build upon the state’s tax base.
“I am saddened that the governor has used questionable appropriating power to withhold education funding purely for political purposes,” said Sen. Kraus. “It is this simple: the Legislature gave schools more, the state has a surplus which easily covers those funds, and the governor still made a choice to withhold school funds. The governor should release those funds immediately if he is going to truly stand with Missouri’s public schools.”