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Broad-based tax cut shouldn’t be controversial


You cannot pick up the paper or listen to your local news without hearing about the tax cut we passed this year. Governor Nixon has already mentioned during press events that he may veto the legislation. But vetoing this measured tax legislation would be a big mistake for Missouri employers, employees and the Missouri economy.

As primary authors of broad-based tax cutting legislation that will provide relief to every Missouri employer and individual taxpayer, we at Associated Industries of Missouri can’t understand why the plan is so controversial. The plan requires state revenues to grow by $1 billion before the entire tax cut is phased in, over a period of at least ten years. The cost of the bill is about $700 million when fully implemented according to capitol officials charged with estimating such an impact. If the state revenues must grow by $1 billion and the measure costs $700 million, that means the state would still keep at least $300 million in growth and the plan costs nothing!

This legislation should be approved for the same reasons Governor Nixon approved phasing out the franchise tax in 2011. At the time, Governor Nixon issued a press release in which he said; “As Governor, my top priority is working with Missouri businesses to create jobs and move our economy forward, and the gradual elimination of this tax is another step in the right direction. Phasing out this burdensome tax will encourage businesses to expand their operations and create jobs in Missouri, boosting our economy and making our state more competitive for years to come.”

The same logic applies to this tax cut plan. It is a measured way to cut taxes for all Missouri job creators and would encourage economic growth.

Every individual taxpayer would enjoy tax relief under our plan. Missourians with less than $20,000 in income would see an additional $1,000 exemption from income tax. And the income tax rates would be reduced over time, provided state tax revenues continue to grow. Most small and medium-sized businesses that report business income on their individual tax returns would enjoy a deduction to reduce taxes on their business income by 50 percent over five years.

Each year, state officials will compare the current year revenues with revenues of the last three fiscal years. If the current revenues are at least $100 million more than the highest of the three previous fiscal years, the tax would be cut. This calculation must be done every year. If state revenues do not grow enough, no additional taxes are cut. Because of this feature, the soonest the tax cut could be phased in is ten years. In reality, it may take much longer. But like the governor’s message when approving the franchise tax cut, reducing the tax burden will “encourage businesses to expand” and “encourage economic growth.”

While the state takes in increased revenues, it only makes sense to reinvest some of that increase in businesses and individuals, the drivers of the state’s economy.

We are at war in Missouri, trying to entice businesses to this state, and keep the ones we have already. This cut is not the drastic, all-in, business tax cut of Kansas. It doesn’t eliminate the state income tax like Tennessee. It doesn’t drop tax rates even as low as Oklahoma. But what House Bill 253 does give is tax certainty and sustainability. It allows for growth for schools and necessary functions of state government, and allows businesses and individuals to invest more into their personal and corporate lives, resulting a healthier state economy.

What’s controversial about that?

Ray McCarty

President, Associated Industries of Missouri

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