JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt has long been a supporter of tax reform, authoring two of the largest tax cuts in the history of the state. And on Thursday, the State Treasurer will be traveling to Washington, D.C. to share that message with members of the Trump administration.
“In September, I called on Congress to finally fix this problem and put working families first by passing substantive tax reform by the end of the year,” Schmitt said. “I’ll be taking that message directly to Washington, D.C. tomorrow when I meet with senior members of the Trump administration to discuss this issue.”
Schmitt will fly to D.C. on Thursday to discuss the federal tax reform proposals and their impact on the Show-Me State’s economy with members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet and the National Economic Council (NEC). This all comes as the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committees move closer to the passage of an update to the federal tax code.
To emphasize how long it’s been since the U.S. has updated that code, Schmitt provided a few examples of what was happening when then-President Ronald Reagan signed off on the largest tax cuts in the history of the nation.
“In 1986, Mike Tyson was the heavyweight champion of the world, and Cyndi Lauper had the number one spot on the Billboard Top 100. Obviously, a lot has changed since then, but inexplicably America’s tax code has not,” Schmitt said. “This lack of action has resulted in a burdensome, complex and overgrown system of taxation that has slowed economic growth, hurt working families, and stood in the way of Missouri opportunity for decades.”
“President Reagan’s 1986 tax reform led to an economic boom, and tax reform delivered in 2017 can have that same impact,” he added. “I know what tax reform will mean to middle-class families because I remember what it meant to our family. It meant we were able to make ends meet a little easier, and that’s a result worth fighting for.”
According to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, either of the tax reform proposals being worked on by the U.S. Congress could result in over 18,000 new jobs in Missouri over a 10-year-period. That same study shows an increase in income for the average Missouri middle-class family to the tune of more than $2,400.
“Though the two chambers are still working out differences, it’s clear that a proposal rooted in the administration’s Unified Framework would mean substantial tax relief for Missouri families,” Schmitt said. “A middle-class family of four in Columbia would get a tax cut of over $1,000. A small business startup here in Jefferson City making $62,000 a year would get a tax cut of $3,000. There are countless examples of families and small business across the state that would see tax relief as a result of these proposals.”
As such, Schmitt argues that passing tax reforms by the end of the year needs to be a top priority for Congress, saying that the time for excuses has passed and that it was “time for Congress to get it done.”
“Tax reform has been relegated to campaign platitudes and wishlists for too long,” Schmitt said.
One of the things most heavily supported by Schmitt is the proposed changes to the 529 college savings plans, like that of the Missouri MOST program, which is administered by Schmitt. Under those changes, it would mean expanded eligibility to K-12 education and apprenticeship programs and allowing the creation of an account for an unborn child. Both plans also would permit the transfer of funds from a 529 account to an ABLE disability savings account.
“These changes would make the program stronger than ever before, lowering costs across the board and make this important savings vehicle available to more Missourians while recognizing the dignity of human life,” Schmitt said. “As both a dad and a 529 administrator, I fully support those measures.”
When asked about concerns of declining revenues in Missouri as a result of the tax reforms, Schmitt said that he thought the impact on the state budget was unknown at this time, a sentiment echoed by the House Budget chair just a day before.
“We really don’t know the ultimate impact, but if you look at it from a more dynamic perspective, you’re allowing Missouri families to keep more of what they’re earning, and I believe that leads to economic growth,” he said.
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.