"One sure way to make certain crime doesn't pay would be to let the government run it." ~ Ronald Reagan
Tax Reform with Education Funding Safeguards
The day after many Americans paid their taxes the Missouri House of Representatives gave final approval to legislation that would rewrite the tax code for Missouri families and businesses. With 104 yes votes the House approved SBs 509 & 496, sending the legislation to the governor to be signed into law. When fully implemented, the bill would reduce the tax burden on individuals and businesses by more than $600 million annually.
While tax legislation approved by the legislature in 2013 was ultimately vetoed by Governor Nixon, the keys to the success of this year's bill are the safeguards it contains combined with the legislature's commitment to record levels of funding for education.
This tax reform bill requires that revenues increase by at least $150 million a year before each phase of the tax cut is implemented. Also, the tax cut would not impair the legislature's ability to fund education and the budget plan approved by the House that would increase K-12 education funding by as much as $278 million and funding to the state's public universities and community colleges by as much as 3 percent.
The plan approved by the House would cut the top income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over a period of years depending on increases to general revenue. It would also phase in a 25 percent tax exemption for Missouri business income in 5 percent increments. For low income Missourians who make $20,000 or less, the bill increases the exemption for personal income taxes from $2,100 to $2,600. In addition, the bill would require that the brackets for individual income tax be adjusted annually for the percent increase in inflation.
The legislation now moves to the governor's desk.
House Education Funding Highlights:
In light of the passage of SBs 509 & 496 and some unfortunate rhetoric that has surrounded this issue in the past, I want to review budget facts about education funding. For a quick summary, we have voted to increase funding for education each year I have been in the General Assembly. Every year of his tenure, Governor Nixon has had withholdings from education funding. Here is a quick summary of this year's education funding proposals from the House, which potentially includes the largest K-12 budget in state history.
1. $278 million increase for the Foundation Formula ($122m GR and $156m Surplus Revenue).
2. $8.2m for Missouri Preschool Program in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts.
3. $1m increase in Parents as Teachers.
4. $25m increase to transportation funding.
1. 3 percent increase to the core at every university and community college in the state.
2. $10m in equity funding for community colleges.
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City and Missouri. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.