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.