MO Gov Rips Sales Tax Hike on the Heels of Tax Cuts for the Wealthy

A three-fourths of one cent sales tax increase may not sound like a lot, but Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has launched an all-out offensive on the initiative set to hit the state's ballot in August. It turns out, 75 percent of a penny adds up to an estimated $6.1 billion over ten years — much of that on the breaking backs of the middle class. In a vacuum, the proposal aims to fix Missouri's failing infrastructure, specifically Interstate 70 that goes through Kansas City. However, reality isn't a vacuum.

Earlier this year, the Missouri General Assembly overturned the governor's veto of an expansive tax cut package that, according to the Kansas City Star, "favors the wealthy." Gov. Nixon isn't standing idly by while Republicans in the state give handouts to the richest of its citizens and corporations — and simultaneously raise prices on "everyday necessities like diapers and over-the-counter medication." Not to mention other priorities like education.

Critics have already called Nixon's decision to hold the initiative's vote in August an effort to "torpedo the tax." Turns out Republicans outvote Democrats in summary primaries by a 2-1 edge, and are most likely the staunchest anti-tax type. The Democratic governor must really dislike the proposal — one backed by labor and business groups, plus both sides of the General Assembly's aisle — to play this political hand. How much?

Just read the release from his office:

Gov. Nixon issues statement on transportation tax
June 2, 2014

Jefferson City, MO

Gov. Jay Nixon today issued the following statement regarding the sales tax increase for transportation that will appear on the August ballot. The proposal would increase sales taxes by $6.1 billion over ten years.

We can all agree on the need for a robust discussion about Missouri's long-term transportation infrastructure needs. Along with a highly-skilled workforce, quality schools, and healthy communities, well-maintained roads and bridges are key to our economic competitiveness.  However, any proposal to change how we fund transportation must be considered in the context of the overall tax policy of our state and funding for other priorities like education.

Recently, members of the General Assembly have been engaged in a relentless effort to erode Missouri's tax base by carving out new loopholes and exemptions for wealthy individuals and businesses.  In the past two months alone, the legislature has passed over a billion dollars in tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the most affluent taxpayers and businesses.  These misguided policies, including the $776 million package of primarily sales tax giveaways rushed through on the last day of session, have shifted the tax burden away from the wealthy and onto working Missourians, while undermining support for education and other vital public services that create opportunity for Missouri families.

On the heels of this headlong rush to provide special breaks and carve-outs for the wealthy and well-connected, members of the General Assembly are now attempting to raise taxes on all Missourians.  The burden of this $6.1 billion sales tax increase would fall disproportionately on Missouri's working families and seniors by increasing the cost of everyday necessities like diapers and over-the-counter medication, while giving the heaviest users of our roads a free pass.  If this effort is successful, Missouri will have the dubious distinction of being a state that, in a matter of months, cut taxes on lawyers and lobbyists, but hiked taxes on bar soap and baseball gloves.      

I cannot in good conscience endorse a $6.1 billion tax hike on Missouri families and seniors when special interests and the wealthy are being showered with sweetheart deals.  This tax hike is neither a fair nor fiscally responsible solution to our transportation infrastructure needs and it does not have my support.

Go to MO State Page
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Brandon Perkins
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