Lawmakers push bills that would level the playing field in Missouri between Internet and Main Street marketers

Sales tax from internet sales – revenues state legislatures have been chasing for years – is starting to arrive in states that have passed measures to harness these dollars.

This week in Missouri, the House Committee on Ways and Means heard testimony on a House Bill 1477, sponsored by Rep. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, which contains provisions that would authorize Missouri to enter into the multistate Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement, which would set up the mechanisms necessary to start collecting tax from Internet sales to Missourians.

The provision was within an omnibus tax bill, and in addition to addressing Internet sales, Rep. Brattin’s bill would also eliminate all state tax credits, phase in a flat income tax rate, and increase the sales and use tax by .25 percent.

Internet sales tax could be a significant windfall for state revenues as this market sector continues to grow.  Online sales growth has outpaced that of traditional stores for years.  By 2015, $175 billion a year will migrate online from stores, according to Deloitte Consulting.

For information on tax issues, contact Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs, at tking@mochamber.com, or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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Déjà vu: Corporate tax relief receives early hearings

While the bill number may be a coincidence, the fact that tax relief is among the first bills to receive hearings in the 2014 Legislative Session is not.  House Bill 1253 was among three tax cut bills heard by the House Committee on Ways and Means this week – legislation containing corporate tax relief provisions similar to the much publicized House Bill 253 of the 2013 Legislative Session.  House Bill 253 was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, a veto that narrowly escaped override following a multi-million dollar campaign in support of the tax cuts.  Republicans vowed going into the 2014 Session that tax relief would be a leading issue.

House Bill 1253, sponsored by Rep. T.J. Berry, is like HB 253 in that it would phase in a reduction of the corporate income tax, however, there are also significant differences in the bill.

HB 1253 does not require nearly as much revenue growth to trigger cuts as were contained in HB 253.  House Bill 1253 would phase in cuts over five years, taking the corporate income tax from 6.25 percent to 3.125 percent.  Each year the cuts would go into effect if revenue growth remained the same or increased.

Unlike HB 253, the legislation does not include the Streamlined Sales Tax language that caused so much controversy in 2013.  Tax amnesty provisions are also left out of HB 1253.

“It’s refreshing to be having the discussion about tax policy and whether this is a policy that will help Missouri grow as the Missouri Chamber believes broad-based tax relief for employers would do,” testified Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs.  “Last session, so much time was spent pitting education against business that this point was lost.”

King emphasized that in order to grow our state’s economy and state funding for important services, we need to remain competitive and keep up with the majority of states that have cut corporate taxes in recent years.

“The Missouri Chamber believes that our state can provide employers relief and fund education,” King said.  “It shouldn’t be either, or.”

During the hearing the committee also heard testimony on two additional bills aimed at cutting taxes:  House Bill 1295 and House Bill 1297.  Both bills are sponsored by Rep. Andrew Koenig.

For more information on tax issues, contact Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs, at tking@mochamber.com, or by phone at 573-634-3511.