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Home » Opinion » Cutting Taxes While Protecting Education

Cutting Taxes While Protecting Education

Cutting Taxes While Protecting Education

April 26, 2014

Last week, the Missouri House truly agreed and finally passed Senate Bills 509 & 496, the legislation I sponsored to cut taxes for all Missourians who file a personal tax form. The bills are now on the governorís desk, awaiting his action.

Like last summer, opponents of the bill are starting a disinformation campaign about the effects of the bill. It is truly disappointing that people have no problem with leaving out important parts of the bill, passing on assumptions as fact, and even outright lying. Left out is the fact that SB 509 was written specifically to protect schools, with delays and triggers to make sure Missouri has higher revenue to fund public education.

Letís look at the facts. Facts you probably have not heard from the governor or third party liberal groups.

SB 509ís tax cuts wonít start until 2017. That gives the governor and Legislature two years to continue working toward full funding of the foundation formula. Close to one half of the balance could be dealt with this year alone. With just average state revenue growth, two years is enough to reach full funding, which I support.

SB 509ís cuts wonít take effect at all if the state does not receive increased revenue. It will be impossible for the state to collect less revenue because of the tax cuts in SB 509. They cannot take effect unless the stateís net general revenue grows by at least $150 million over the highest of the last three years. The tax cuts come from growth in revenue, not from the core budget.

SB 509 will create surplus revenue. Over a period of five years, SB 509 will send $620 million back into the hands of taxpayers. Over the same five-year time frame, revenue will have to grow by at least $750 million. Basic math tells you that means that state revenue must grow by at least $130 million. That fact doesnít even consider the hundreds of millions Missouriís revenue will grow during the two-year delay. Since the average yearly growth is closer to $300 million, it is likely that revenues will be considerably higher.

SB 509ís business tax cuts are for small business owners. Those who pass through their business taxes to their personal tax form have never gotten a tax cut before. These are plumbers, electricians, dry cleaners, farmers, barbers, carpenters and other small businesses. I would note that the owners of these small, struggling businesses are the parents of the children who attend our schools.

SB 509 does not cut funds to education. Budget decisions are made by the General Assembly each year; they are not somehow automatic. Donít be fooled by school districts who are claiming some very specific cut to their budget. These districts are making assumptions about phantom automatic cuts based only on the cost, and ignoring the triggers and normal revenue growth. No such cuts are planned and no such cuts will be needed.

While I understand that there are differing philosophies on tax cuts, it is critical that we have an honest discussion on the issue. I encourage you to listen to both sides and make up your own mind. But please donít rely entirely on the misinformation and misleading information put out by opponents of the bill. It is important to know that SB 509 was drafted specifically to protect our public school system.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at any time. We look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions, and trying to answer any questions you may have. You can reach us by phone at 573-751-1464, or e-mail at will.kraus@senate.mo.gov.

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  1. Gene W. DeVaux says:
    May 3rd, 2014 at 01:59
    So, the Republicans in Jefferson City have created another desperately stupid tax cut bill that they are trying to sell to the residents of Missouri as a tax cut that will put more money in their pockets. The truth is more like what has happened in Kansas where the state is taking from its reserve fund to make up for lost revenue that was caused by their flawed tax cut bills that were passed in the last two years. As a result of their revenue shortfalls, the state is having trouble; not only with providing needed services, but it will now face higher interest rates when the state must borrow money. The Kansas City Star reported today that Moodyís Investor Services has downgraded the stateís credit rating. Not only has the state lost much needed revenue, but now it will pay more out in interest when it has to borrow money.
    Once again, State Senator Will Kraus has complained about the Governorís veto of Missouriís extremely flawed tax cut bill. Senator Kraus, a tool of the American Legislative Exchange Council and St. Louis Multi Billionaire Rex Sinquefield. He is acting as their puppet and they are pulling his strings.
    Missouri is already one of the lowest taxed states in this country. State employees are among the worst paid in the United States. Our school districts have had to keep going to the property tax well to make ends meet. Leeís Summit R-7 school district asked for and got two property tax increases since 2001. The last time it had a proposal on the ballot, voters turned it down. Why did the school district need to ask home owners and businesses for property tax increases? It was simply because the state of Missouri has never fully restored its school funding formula that was cut during the recession of 2001. Do we want to follow same road that is already stalling the state of Kansas?
    We should be thankful that our Governor has stood up to the puppeteers and their lackeys in Jefferson City.
    Gene W. DeVaux
    Greenwood, MO

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