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Political leaders address AIM Tax Conference


State Sen. Will Kraus addresses the AIM Tax & Business Conference Thursday October 17.


Some of Missouri’s most important political leaders want to hear what’s important to you as they begin preparations for the upcoming legislative session.

Senator Will Kraus, Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Senator Kurt Schaefer, Chairman of Senate Appropriations Committee and House Majority Floor Leader and Speaker-nominee, Representative John Diehl were among the list of distinguished speakers at the annual Associated Industries of Missouri Tax and Business Conference in Columbia.

The legislators all spoke hopefully about the possibilities of passing meaningful tax reform legislation, including some kind of tax cut package.

“Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly are very committed to passing a tax cut,” said Kraus, one of the main driving forces in the Missouri Senate for the broad-based tax cutting House Bill 253, vetoed by the governor this past session. “We think it’s important (to pass a tax cutting proposal) to make the business climate the best we can.”

Kraus was the luncheon speaker on the conference’s full day of seminars and discussion sessions on Thursday, October 17.

“We have to address tax policy in the state of Missouri. We’re burying our head in the sand if we don’t,” said State Senator Kurt Schaefer of Columbia. Schaefer along with Rep. Diehl spoke to a late afternoon session Thursday.

Schaefer, who is chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee said he has studied the corporate tax cuts in Kansas and fears what might occur in Missouri if companies leave the state for the neighboring state to the west.

“There’s a question at this point that if you’re a tax lawyer and you’re giving tax advice to somebody in Kansas City Missouri, there’s a real question about whether or not you commit malpractice by not telling a client the distinction between being in Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas,” said Schaefer. “We need to be competitive and to do that, we need to change our tax policy.”

Rep. Diehl said it appears last session got the ball rolling on legislative action on tax policy.

“For the first time, there is a serious discussion going on in this state about tax policy and tax rates. Tax rates matter,” said Diehl. “I don’t care if it’s one dime, or one dollar, or one-hundred dollars or a million dollars, you guys in this room know how to spend that money better than the government does.”

For the time being, Kraus, Schaefer and Diehl all said they are open to suggestions about what a tax cut should look like.

“I’m here to see if you have any ideas about how we can improve the tax code,” said Kraus touching off a wide ranging discussion that included several ideas and questions from the audience.

Senator Schaefer also discussed the budget process in general and the broad authority of the governor to withhold appropriations authorized by the Missouri General Assembly and the role of the Attorney General in tax cases and other important state matters.

If you have any ideas on legislation you think needs to come before the General Assembly, don’t hesitate to contact us at rmccarty@aimo.com or at (573) 634-2246.

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