Don’t punish Missouri taxpayers for drafting error, says Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

 The Missouri Chamber is strongly urging Gov. Nixon to sign House Bill 253 despite a drafting error that was made by Nixon’s Department of Revenue (DOR) in language the department provided to bill drafters.  The main provisions of the bill would reduce small business taxes, cut the corporate tax rate in half and lower individual taxes by $384 million, phased in over ten years.  The bill also guarantees the state would receive at least $1 billion in future revenue growth before the reductions would take effect.

However, the governor distributed a press release today citing concerns that additional language within the bill – language that would allow Missouri to take steps toward securing sales tax from internet sales – would cost Missourians who use prescription drugs $200 million annually.  Commonly known as the streamlined sales tax, the measure has been pushed by Nixon’s Department of Revenue for years and the department gave assurances to lawmakers that this was the appropriate language to implement it.  In his State of the State address, Gov. Nixon called on lawmakers to pass this streamlined sales tax bill.

“Missouri taxpayers should not be punished for an error made by Nixon’s Department of Revenue,” said Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs.  “There is a way to work around the error, as the streamlined sales tax provision would not go into effect until January 2015.  We urge the governor to sign the bill and allow lawmakers to fix the drafting error when they are back in Jefferson City during a special legislative session or in the 2014 Legislative Session.”

The legislation was a priority of the Missouri Chamber on several levels.

“One of the strongest economic development tools we can provide is broad-based tax relief, which is contained in this bill,” said King.  “It allows existing businesses to keep more of their earnings to reinvest in workers and expansion.  At the same time, it gives prospective employers a strong reason to move to our state.  What’s more, it gives workers an opportunity to keep more of their paychecks.”

The streamlined sales tax language was filed in at least five other bills this legislative session and all bills contained the language provided by Nixon’s Department of Revenue.

“What is so frustrating is that DOR had time to vet this language before this bill was passed,” said King.  “Every time a bill is filed or any version of the bill is changed through the legislative process, the department is required to thoroughly review and report its impact and make recommendations for changes.  This didn’t happen and now Missouri’s business community and the taxpayers in this state will lose millions due to this oversight if the governor chooses to veto this bill.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry (www.mochamber.com) was founded in 1923 and is the largest business organization in Missouri, representing almost 3,000 employers, providing more than 425,000 jobs for Missourians.

 

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Missouri Chamber Policy Councils

Each legislative year the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry sends lobbyists to the capitol to work on an agenda set by the Missouri Chamber Policy Councils.  The policy councils, led by member volunteers, help define our policies on issues that are critical to your business or organization. The Policy councils will be meeting soon to decide on an upcoming legislative agenda for the 2013 session. The councils are divided into different topics that affect business, including Economic Development and Small Business, Education and Workforce Development, Environmental and Energy, Health Care, Taxation and Fiscal Policy, Tourism and Transportation.
Economic Development and Small Business Council
The Missouri Chamber Economic Development and Small Business Council promotes sustainable economic development opportunities for Missouri employers, both large and small. The Council advocates investment and management of those key assets necessary for continued economic well-being of Missouri, such as infrastructure, education, job training, technology, energy and financing. The Council is actively involved with economic development stakeholders within the legislature, government agencies and in the private market.
Education and Workforce Development Council
The Missouri Chamber Education and Workforce Development Council advocates for programs and policies that ensure the state has a workforce that is prepared for the future global economy. Our agenda includes initiatives that encourage Missouri students to take more rigorous classes, including math, engineering, technology and science. The Education and Workforce Development Council also ensures that business concerns are considered as education public policy is made in state government. In addition, the council encourages business participation in education matters.
Environmental and Energy Council
The Missouri Chamber Environmental and Energy Council is responsible for developing policies that promote a balance between sound management of the state’s natural resources and economic development. The council reviews proposed rules and analyzes legislation to determine effective policy. The council also discusses practical ways to ensure a positive energy future and promotes the exchange of information on economical methods of environmental control.
Health Care Council
The Missouri Chamber Health Care Council develops policy recommendations on all health care issues, including increasing access to affordable health care coverage and promoting consumer-driven health care programs. The Health Care Council monitors ongoing trends in the health care industry and promotes the development of market-driven solutions to the ongoing challenges of rising health care costs and uninsured Missourians.
Labor and Industrial Relations Council
The Labor and Industrial Relations Council advocates policy in the areas of workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, labor relations and tort reform, to name a few. Each of these areas are critical for Missouri employers, and this council has the potential to impact millions of dollars in Missouri employers’ bottom lines.
Taxation and Fiscal Policy Council
The Missouri Chamber Taxation and Fiscal Policy Council works for a tax climate that is conducive to the expansion and growth of jobs. The Taxation and Fiscal Policy Council advocates sound state and federal tax revisions, including responsible governmental spending policies. The council is involved with state agencies to guide tax rule making. In addition, the council monitors judicial action on tax policy.
Tourism Council
The Missouri Chamber Tourism Council promotes policy that leverages the many attributes of our state that attracts visitors and tourism revenue. Direct expenditures by travelers to Missouri exceeds $8.5 billion and the industry employs more than 293,000 Missourians, making the work of this council extremely important to the economic future of our state.
Transportation Council
Transportation is a critical factor in maintaining the future economic vitality of Missouri. One of Missouri’s strongest economic development tools is our central geographic location supported by a strong transportation infrastructure. The Missouri Chamber Transportation Council ensures that the voice of business and commerce is heard when transportation policy is being debated in Jefferson City.
To apply for one of the policy councils, please contact Amanda Yoder, administrative assistant to governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber, at 573.634.3511 or ayoder@mochamber.com.