Missouri governor pushes lawmakers to approve stimulus-control alternative When the largest budget in Missouri history was passed in May with the support of the majority of state lawmakers, many expected the $49 billion package to be signed soon and the money soon to be distributed across the state. The package included support for educational facilities, school transportation, personal care providers and even $500 million in tax credits.
Tax credits seem to be the hot new version of government aid to citizens in 2020 and 2021 — and many states are jumping on the bandwagon, as is Missouri. Perhaps.
The $500 million for tax credits was half of what the State House had originally requested, but the compromise proposal allowed Missouri to finally begin allocating its unprecedented amount of excess tax revenue to taxpayers and various institutions in the state. Under the bill, individual tax filers in the state would receive $500 in rebates, and married couples filing jointly would receive $1,000.
All Missourians making less than $150,000 as individuals, and less than $300,000 as a couple, would have been eligible for the rebates — but the bill was ultimately rejected by Governor Mike Parson.
Why was the legislation abolished?
Governor Parson initially vetoed the $500 million legislative package from state legislators in July, arguing that the provisions in the bill excluded lower- and upper-income Missourians. Parson also suggested that the bill provided only temporary support and taxpayers needed a longer-term exemption instead.
“Since the rebates on tax liabilities would be prorated because the program is underfunded, no taxpayer would receive the advertised maximum rebate. Many working people in Missouri, including low-income, high-income and vulnerable populations, have been completely excluded from this temporary relief measure,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
Governor Parson offered an alternative to state legislators, calling for a special session to discuss the implementation of permanent tax relief for all taxpaying Missourians. The move, the governor said, would help people cope with record inflation, historically high gas prices and rising food costs in the longer term, rather than simply handing out checks that would soon be issued.
“I have always advocated for reducing the tax burden on Missourians and support the spirit of this legislation, but the reality is that we can do better for all taxpayers in Missouri than HB2090, and I want to focus on a comprehensive and permanent package of tax reforms . ‘ said Parson.
The governor added that permanent tax cuts would provide “real relief” to families, the working class, small businesses and seniors across the country.
Parson continues to “push hard”
Governor Parson is “urging hard” to renegotiate the provisions within the various legislative packages proposed this year by the state house and congress, and met with the Missouri House GOP summer caucus in Branson last Friday to discuss its plans. and attend several other meetings in August to appeal for support for his alternative plan.
“I think all meetings are going well,” Parson told reporters in early August, citing a series of meetings with Republican lawmakers.
“By making the biggest tax cut in Missouri history, and still be able to preserve education, health care, and all the things we do, we need to get that done,” said Parson.
Reports also revealed how the governor of Missouri has enlisted the help of one of the state’s leading tax-cut advocates, Rex Sinquefeld.
Sinquefeld is not only a champion of tax cuts, but also a prolific donor who has given out more than $40 million to candidates in Missouri in the past year. Parson enlisted Sinquefeld’s support and encouraged him to meet with lawmakers and urge them to pass new legislation that lowers taxes across the board, rather than handing out another stimulus check. In a series of meetings, Sinquefeld also appeared with the legendary economist Art Laffer.
It’s also not the first time these three have teamed up to implement tax cuts. In 2019, reports revealed how Parson met Sinquefeld and Laffer to discuss tax policy.
Whether lawmakers will ultimately side with the governor and opt for long-term tax cuts, however, remains to be seen. While tax cuts will ease the pain over time, the move could potentially open up conservative lawmakers in the state to criticism from Democratic opponents who could accuse them of cutting taxes on the rich.
Jack Buckby is a British author, anti-extremism researcher and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the UK, Europe and the US, he works to analyze and understand left- and right-wing radicalisation, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to today’s pressing issues. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.