The only true freshman lawmaker in the Missouri Senate for the 99th General Session has already built himself a reputation and earned himself a nickname. Referring to Bill Eigel as the Senator for Tax Cuts is very fitting considering focused his legislative career to date has focused on doing that very thing.
His first campaign for elected office, saw Eigel voted into the upper chamber where he has managed to help push through several slashes to individual and corporate taxes in Missouri. While his tax overhaul bill itself wasn’t the one that crossed the finish-line, Eigel was part of the group of lawmakers that made sure individuals and corporations will see a reduction taxes they pay the state.
The Senator from St. Charles didn’t just focus on slashing taxes, filing a wide range of bills that included reducing the size of government, updating the Show-Me State’s transportation infrastructure, and health care.
“I define the role of government as defending the rights of the people. And if it can’t fit within that realm and there isn’t a direct correlation to protecting the rights of the citizens then it’s probably not a good use of government funds,” said Eigel.
The government now is larger than ever, he noted, even accounting for inflation. The one thing that has been consistent, outside of the recession era of the economy, is that state government is spending more and more. Eigel said that trend continues no matter what political party is in control.
“We have the largest government we have ever had in the history of Missouri, in terms of the dollars spent and in terms of the lines of code a citizen must comply with,” said Eigel.
With a larger government comes more regulations, not all of which are necessary. As an example, Eigel pointed to the state requirements for an individual to become a licensed hair braider. Prior to the changes made during the 2018 regular session, folks had to go to a cosmetology school and complete 1,500 hours of coursework to braid hair. The General Assembly rolled that backed, so hair braiders aren’t burdening unnecessary hoops to jump through.
He pointed to his home field of St. Charles, Missouri, as an example of the benefits of a smaller government. Less government and lower taxes have produced a very vibrant economy with a growing population, Eigel noted, and he wants to emulate that statewide.
“I am passionate about cutting taxes. I don’t like high taxes,” said Eigel. “Cutting taxes has been my priority since the day I got here.”
The government is taking more out of folk’s bank accounts now then they were 10-, 20-, 30- years ago, note the small business owner. And he was worked in his two years in the General Assembly to scale that back.
In 2018, Eigel introduced a plan to reduce the individual income tax rate of 5.9 percent to 5.25 percent and drop the corporate tax rate of 6.25 percent to 4.25 percent. While the 421-page bill was given committee approval it stalled on the floor of the Senate.
But that didn’t stop Eigel from pushing ahead for tax cuts. He went on to work with Rep. Elijah Haahr and Sen. Andrew Koenig to get measures across the finish line. Haahr’s bill reduced individual income rates to 5.4 percent and Koenig’s bill reduced corporate tax rates to 3.9 percent.
And he plans to continue focusing on government overreach, improving Missouri’s tax code in the coming session. He credits the success he has had in the Capitol to the relationships he has built.
“Every person in the chamber comes from a different background, from a different part of the state, and has different things they are passionate about,” said Eigel. “And the only way you will find out what they are interested in and what they are passionate about is to spend time with them.”
This piece is featured as part of the Missouri Times’ Best of the Legislature 2018 appearing in the January 2019 Missouri Times Magazine.
Alisha Shurr is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the Missouri Times in January 2018 after working as a copy editor for her hometown newspaper in Southern Oregon. Alisha is a graduate of Kansas State University. Contact Alisha at firstname.lastname@example.org.