The final fate of House Bill 253 is just four weeks out. The Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement would lower the state income tax. The Missouri General Assembly approved the bill during their regular session, but Governor Jay Nixon vetoed the measure in June.

Photo courtesy of www.house.mo.gov.

Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Representative TJ Berry, of Kearney.

TJ Berry

Berry introduced the bill. He said the decrease could allow for a growth in spending. Western Missouri is losing businesses to Kansas, which has an income tax of zero percent. Under Berry’s legislation, Missouri corporations would eventually be taken down to a tax rate of 3.25 percent.

“For individuals and corporations, it goes down a half a percent over ten years. Again, very measured response. And trying to make sure we don’t follow the path of Kansas, but we definitely can compete,” said Berry.

Senator David Pearce, of Warrensburg, did not support similar bills during the regular session, and plans to uphold the Governor’s veto.

Photograph courtesy of www.senate.mo.gov.

Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Pearce:

David Pearce

“I think it’s very important that we are able to attract new business and encourage our existing businesses to stay here and expand. And so I think those are some things that we’ll be looking at in a tax cut bill possibly next year,” said Pearce, “But I think the one that we have in House Bill 253 is too much, and I think it just cuts far too deep.”

According to Pearce, Missouri’s K-12 schools are currently underfunded by about $600 million, and higher education lacks about $400 million. He said, in addition to the amount of the cuts, it is too fast. “And I think it’s regressive. I think those in the lower income bracket would be paying more of the brunt of that than those in the middle or higher income bracket,” said Pearce, “And I do think that it would have a detrimental effect on our public schools and colleges.”

Berry said the word “cut” is causing concern, but it is not as dire as it sounds. “To me, a cut means that I will receive less than I did yesterday. Well, in government, a cut means I will receive less increase than I had planned on. So, again, what’s your definition of a cut? Education will not receive less dollars than they do today.”

The General Assembly will convene in Jefferson City on September 11th. It will take a 2/3 vote in both the Missouri House and Senate to override the governor’s decision.