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State Rep. T.J. Berry again makes broad-based tax relief his top legislative priority

As the Missouri General Assembly returned this week for the 2014 legislative session, state Rep. T.J. Berry again affirmed his commitment to providing broad-based tax relief to Missouri businesses. Berry filed HB 1253 today to provide substantive tax relief to Missouri employers. He said the bill is a vital component to Missouri’s efforts to create jobs and grow its economy.

“As we continue to try to keep the jobs we have here in Missouri and bring new employers to the state, our best course of action is to have a low tax burden that is competitive with our neighboring states,” said Berry, R-Kearney. “As we saw with the effort to bring Boeing’s new production line to Missouri, the tax burden is a vitally important factor in the decision-making of these companies. I would prefer we provide that tax relief to all businesses rather than pick winners and losers in the forms of targeted incentives. This is especially important on the western side of the state where we are working each and every day to retain businesses that see Kansas as a more business-friendly environment. We need to make our great state of Missouri their number one option.”

This year’s broad-based tax relief bill is similar to the original version of HB 253 that was filed by Berry during the 2013 session. While that legislation was ultimately vetoed, Berry said the problems noted by the governor were related to additions made to the bill in the Missouri Senate. He said the current version of the bill removes the sections the governor deemed problematic and is focused on providing the kind of tax relief that will help attract new employers as well as retain existing businesses.

“The governor was very vocal in opposing several sections of HB 253 and we have listened to his complaints and come back with a bill that is simple in scope but enormous in regard to the potential positive impact it could have on our economy,” said Berry. “I hope the governor can support the bill and work with us to provide Missouri job creators with the kind of tax relief that will allow them to keep and invest more of their hard-earned dollars into growing their businesses and creating even more jobs.”

HB 1253 would provide substantive tax relief for Missouri employers by cutting their income tax liability in half over a period of five years. The phased-in reductions would be dependent on continued economic growth in the state. In years where income tax revenues do not grow, the next phase of the tax cut would not be initiated. Berry said the safeguard is an important component to the bill that will ensure the tax cut is having its intended effect of stimulating economic growth.

The bill also contains a provision that would immediately enact the full 50 percent tax cut for any business that pays its employees an average wage that is at least 150 percent of the county average wage. Berry said the provision will provide meaningful tax relief to Missouri businesses who are providing the kind of good-paying, family-supporting jobs the bill is meant to help create.

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