The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry is questioning Gov. Jay Nixon’s anti-tax cut messaging. Following the Missouri House passage of Senate Bill 509, Gov. Jay Nixon wasted no time in decrying the bill, but some of his claims are not accurate. The bill the governor is attacking is Senate Bill 509, legislation that would cut the individual income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and phase in a 25 percent deduction on an individual’s business income. The changes would not take effect until 2017, and only if Missouri’s net general revenues rise by $150 million over the highest level across the previous three years.
The Missouri Chamber is troubled to see Gov. Nixon successfully framing the issue in the media as a tax cut for “lobbyists and lawyers.”
“What about the farmers, barbers, pet groomers, carpenters, and thousands of other categories of small business owners who would benefit from this tax cut?” asked Dan Mehan, Missouri Chamber president and CEO. “What about the factory workers, truck drivers, teachers, and other hard-working Missourians who would benefit by keeping more of their paychecks? On behalf of the small business members we represent and workers they employ – all of whom would benefit from this tax relief – we need to set the record straight.”
Another fact that the governor is distorting is that the legislation is an attack on education and would cut education funding.
“The legislation delays implementation of the tax cut until 2017, when the governor’s own projections show that the education foundation formula will be fully funded,” Mehan said. “The tax breaks will not go into effect unless $750 million in additional funding comes into state revenue. How can the governor say education will receive less funding, when simple math shows the opposite?”
The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports Senate Bill 509, citing the need to compete with surrounding states that have implemented tax reform. Six of the eight states bordering Missouri have made moves to cut taxes. Eighteen states cut taxes last year alone.
“In a decade, we will definitely see the difference in the economies of those states that have established aggressive tax policy and those states that stood still,” Mehan said. “We are being left behind by states that have embraced reform. Instead, in Missouri, our governor is spending taxpayers’ dollars flying around the state and holding press conferences rather than giving them a small break. At the very least, we hope that reporters and taxpayers will see through the rhetoric.”
Meeting notes posted on Politicmo today show the coordination between the governor’s office and some members of the education community to block the tax relief proposal.
“This is another example of politics before policy,” Mehan said.