Refund Language Added to Bill, WC/SIF Talks Continue and Tax Cut Could Be Debated Today
May 2 – On Monday, Senator Ron Richard added AIM’s refund language to HB 1504. The change would allow businesses and persons that paid sales or use taxes to seek a refund directly from the Missouri Department of Revenue if the vendor to which the tax was paid fails or refuses to seek the refund on the taxpayer’s behalf, allows vendors to assign their rights to a refund to the purchaser that actually paid the tax, and establishes a process that allows taxpayers to appeal denied refund claims (currently only vendors are aware of the status of claims and are the sole entity that may appeal denied refund claims). The sponsor of the underlying bill, Rep. Todd Richardson, is examining the Senate amendments now and determining the next step for the bill. The Missouri House could take up and pass the bill, or the bill could be sent to conference to work out differences between the House and Senate versions. We have prepared Rep. Richardson and Rep. Jerry Nolte to help defend the refund language on the House floor.
Talks continue on the two worker’s compensation issues (occupational disease and co-employee liability) and disposition of the Second Injury Fund.
Governor Jay Nixon defended the Second Injury Fund as Attorney General for 16 years during the time when conditions and injuries covered by the failing Second Injury Fund were expanded to include conditions and injuries that have nothing to do with the workplace. The enhancement of work injury awards by combining the effect of the workplace injury with non-workplace injuries worked to bankrupt the Fund. Employers, knowing the Fund was going bankrupt but failing to get support from the General Assembly for changes that would help sustain the Fund for valid workplace injuries, supported capping the surcharge that funds the state operated Second Injury Fund at three percent. That cap remains in place today. Employers have offered several solutions, including terminating the Fund, increasing the surcharge, and specifically desginating the types of claims that should be moved into the worker’s compensation system. While Governor Nixon initially wanted to fix the Second Injury Fund, his office no longer appears to be as energized in finding a solution to the problem that is acceptable to employers.
The occupational disease and co-employee liability bill, HB 1403, should clear a Senate committee this afternoon and will likely be debated today in the Senate.
We have also met with House Majority Floor Leader Tim Jones and asked for the House to debate our tax cut legislation, HB 1639, and he indicated he would possibly take that bill up today. The bill is sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nolte.