Paycheck protection moves through Senate committee

A Senate committee has voted in favor of requiring unions to get annual written authorization in order to collect fees that are automatically deducted from a worker’s paycheck by an employer. Unions would need similar consent to spend a person’s fees on political activities.

Called paycheck protection, this legislation is necessary to ensure that workers have control over how a union spends its fees.

The bill is House Bill 1617 and it is sponsored by Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston. The committee that approved the bill was the Senate Committee on Small Business, Insurance and Industry Missouri Chamber supports of this legislation. The bill now goes to the full Senate.

For more information on paycheck protection legislation, please contact Jay Atkins, general counsel for the Missouri Chamber, at jatkins@mochamber.com or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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More progress on proposal to halt tax court double standard

Legislation to end an unfair double standard in Missouri’s tax courts made progress in a Senate committee.

The Senate’s Ways and Means Committee heard testimony on Rep. Denny Hoskins’ House Bill 1455, which would ensure all taxpayers are treated as innocent until proven guilty in the state’s tax courts. Currently, businesses with a net worth greater than $7 million come into tax disputes with assumed guilt.

“This change has long been a priority of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. We believe that all taxpayers should be on a level playing field. This bill would put the burden of proof back on Missouri’s Department of Revenue,” said Tracy King, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs.

This fairness language continues to see widespread support in the General Assembly. Earlier in April, the Senate approved Senate Bill 829, by Sen. Will Kraus, which also contained this language. Sen. Kraus’ bill awaits a hearing in the House.

After hearing testimony on Rep. Hoskins’ bill, the Senate committee amended another bill to contain the burden of proof language, passing it out of committee. This bill is Senate Bill 881, sponsored by Sen. Scott Sifton, a Democrat from Affton.

Other amendments to Sen. Sifton’s bill include includes language stopping the Department of Revenue from demanding exercise businesses collect sales tax. Another amendment would require the department to notify businesses when there is a change in the interpretation of sales tax law, exempting the business from liability if the department fails to issue a notification.

The Missouri Chamber has been voicing concern about how recent Missouri Department of Revenue tactics are harming Missouri businesses. The chamber will continue pressing for final passage of these ideas this year to stop this harmful overreach by the department.

The Ways and Means committee also heard testimony about a bill that would allow sellers to absorb the sales tax on items sold. The practice is currently illegal in Missouri. Click here to learn more.

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

The Missouri Chamber holds that all taxpayers should be innocent until proven guilty – including large employers

This week, the Missouri Chamber’s Tracy King told a Senate committee that current Missouri tax policy denies Missouri large employers a basic right – innocence until proven guilty. The Missouri Chamber testified in support of legislation presented to the Senate Committee on Ways and Means that would shift the burden of proof in tax disputes from employer taxpayers to the Department of Revenue (DOR).

This bill is an enhancement to legislation passed in previous years that shifted the burden of proof from individuals and small businesses to the Revenue Department. The Missouri Chamber has been the lead proponent of this movement since the Missouri Legislature first looked at the issue in 1999.

The bill under review by the Senate committee is Senate Bill 829, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, a Republican from Lee’s Summit.

“The Missouri Chamber holds that innocence until proven guilty is an unconditional right of every Missouri taxpayer, including large employers,” King said. “I challenge the department to show me how they can draw a correlation between size of business and the frequency of tax evasion.”

Similar legislation was approved this week by the Missouri House Committee on Rules. That bill is House Bill 1455, sponsored by Rep. Denny Hoskins, a Republican from Warrensburg. That means HB 1455 could be debated as early as next week.

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.