I was honored to recognize the Marshall FFA chapter for their numerous achievements. Number 1 chapter in the state for three years in a row! (Contributed photo)
Happy birthday remembrance: today is the birthday of President Harry Truman.
Legislature Overrides Governor's Veto of Tax Cut Legislation
What the Senate began on Monday night the House completed Tuesday morning as a supermajority in both chambers voted to override the governor's veto of a bill that would reduce Missouri's income tax for the first time in nearly a century. Now set to become law, the bill will provide tax relief to approximately 2.3 million families and 121,000 small businesses in Missouri, including 2,107 in the 51st District.
It was in September of last year when the House fell short in its efforts to override a veto of a larger version of the tax cut. At the time, some members were concerned with provisions in the bill that could have had unintended consequences. Tax cut proponents came back this year with a scaled-down version of the tax relief package with more safeguards in place. This revised version won the support of the entire Republican caucus and two members from the other side of the aisle (0ne to pass and one to override). Together that was enough to remove the governor's roadblock to tax relief for Missouri families and businesses.
The version of the bill now set to become law will begin taking effect in 2017. The delay was put in place to give the legislature the opportunity to fully fund the K-12 school funding formula before the phase-in starts for the tax cut. Once implemented, SB 509 will cut the income tax for the first time in nearly a century and will provide additional tax relief to low income citizens. The bill will reduce the individual income tax by a total of one half percent over a period of five years. The phase-in of the tax break will be based on revenue increases of at least $150 million each year. The bill also will provide additional relief to lower income Missourians by increasing the personal income tax exemption amount by $500 for taxpayers with an adjusted gross income of less than $20,000.
The bill is designed to spur job creation by allowing Missouri small businesses to keep more of their income so it can be reinvested. Beginning in 2017 the bill phases in a 25 percent deduction for income tax over a period of five years. The deduction is specifically tailored for small business owners, who make up more than 90 percent of employers in the state. Our hope is that allowing our industrious small employers to keep more of their income will allow them to grow their businesses and create more good-paying jobs.
As we talk about the tax cut it is important again to highlight the safeguards in the bill that will require revenues to increase by at least $150 million each year for five years in order for the tax cut to be fully implemented. The end result will be at least an additional $750 million in revenues before the full $620 million tax cut is in place. While some have tried to paint a tax cut as a threat to education funding, the version of the bill passed this year will work to ensure funding for our schools continues to increase.
This was a huge moment for the legislature as we came together to allow Missourians to keep more of their hard-earned money. I am a big fan of the responsible way the tax cut is structured so that it ensures our revenues will continue moving in a positive direction.
Fiscally Responsible Budget Now on Its Way to the Governor's Desk
In the same week we made history by approving broad-based tax relief for Missourians we also gave final approval to a fiscally responsible spending plan that makes wise use of our tax dollars. The state operating budget checks in at just under $26.4 billion. This budget contains record levels of funding for our system of K-12 education.
Some of the funding highlights in the budget that will take effect July 1 of this year include:
1. $278 million increase for the Foundation Formula ($114m General Revenue and $163m Surplus Revenue)
2. $29 million increase for the First Steps Program
3. $10 million increase for school transportation
4. $4 million for Missouri Preschool Program in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts
5. $3.5 million for reading programs in unaccredited and provisionally accredited districts
6. $1 million increase in Parents as Teachers
7. $1 million increase for Teach for America
8. $10 million increase to transportation funding
1. 5 percent increase to the core at universities and community colleges
2. $6 million in equity funding for community colleges
3. Full ride loan forgiveness for Bright Flight recipients who stay and work in Missouri
4. $15 million increase for Access Missouri Scholarship Program
5. $6.7 million increase for A+ Scholarship Program
1. $4.5 million for matching funds to Early Stage Business Development Grants
2. $5 million increase to Missouri Technology Corporation
3. $400,000 to Certified Work Ready Communities
4. $8.5 million increase to Tourism
Moving Missouri Forward
1. $14.2 million bond payment for the construction of a new Fulton State Hospital
2. $7.2 million in payments to the Biodiesel incentive fund
3. Eliminate the Development Disabilities waitlist
4. Money for an extra day of courier service to the state lab for newborn screening test results. Also, expands stops to include eight additional birthing hospitals and testing on Saturdays
5. Expand dental coverage to over 300,000 adult Medicaid recipients to cut down on emergency room visits.
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.