Missouri Legislature sends income tax cut bill to governor

Republicans said Missourians whose tax dollars pay for services for the poor deserve to have unspent money returned to them.

Updated: September 29, 2022 - 10:12pm

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The Missouri Legislature on Thursday has given Republican Gov. Mike Parson the tax cut he'd been asking for.

By a 98-32 vote, the House passed Senate Bill 3, reducing the top income tax rate from 5.3% to 4.95% beginning in 2023.

After the vote, Parson announced he modified his call for a special session to mirror the tax legislation and agriculture bills in both chambers.

"We are thrilled that the General Assembly has answered our call to cut Missourians’ taxes and return some of their hard-earned dollars," Parson said in a statement. "We called this special session to pass and extend critical support to our agriculture industry and reduce Missourians’ income tax burden, and that’s exactly what we are accomplishing."

During floor debate, Democrats criticized the tax cut and the inability to add amendments to the bill during Wednesday’s committee hearing. They said the income tax cuts wouldn’t help the middle and lower classes, and the state needs to better fund education and social services.

"How many times do we have to try this experiment and watch it fail in order to realize that’s not how we grow our state?" said Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis. "Let’s be clear here. Yesterday at the Budget Committee when we heard this bill, the primary proponents were Americans for Prosperity – the Koch brothers – and The Show-Me Institute – Rex Sinquefield. Billionaires! Billionaires are pushing for this tax cut. The same billionaires that supported Kansas tax cut 10 years ago that bankrupted the state."

Republicans said Missourians whose tax dollars pay for services for the poor deserve to have unspent money returned to them.

"You can’t tell the whole story without acknowledging that we are helping those with little income in many ways and in ways that are unprecedented," said Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage. "And this bill is for the folks that are paying for all of that. They’re paying taxes to be redirected to people who may be downtrodden, less fortunate or low income for a variety of reasons."

Rep. Bill Kidd, R-Buckner, whose eight years in the House is ending due to term limits, encouraged the House to pursue additional tax reform during the next session.

"If you really want to affect people’s income, do something about property tax," Kidd said. "If you’re a low-bracket earner or you’re on a fixed income, this tax cut’s not going to do much for you. That’s the truth. … I’m not sure anybody else is going to stand up today and say that because, unlike most of you, I don’t come back. I am free to speak. I’m glad we’re doing the tax cut – don’t get me wrong – I’m going to vote for it. … You guys need to come back here and work on this."

There are triggers in the law to reduce the tax rate by 0.15% and then by an additional tenth of a percent if the state exceeds net general revenue collections. If those benchmarks are met, the top tax rate would reach 4.5%.

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