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Column: Hoskins discusses education and the income tax bill

“Protecting schools and taxpayers from the governor’s fake crisis”

When I was knocking doors during my campaign, voters often asked my view on taxes and education.

Over the years my response has remained the same, “As a certified public accountant, I’m committed to maintaining an efficient and effective state government.  It is my duty to be a responsible steward of the people’s tax dollars.  I will support lower taxes, meaning more money in your pocket.  It is a responsible and smart investment of our tax dollars to support public education.  Our children are our future; I will fight for funding for public schools and universities.”

Rep. Denny Hoskins
Rep. Denny Hoskins

Since I was elected in 2008, I have maintained both promises, without wavering. I’ve voted for tax cuts to attract businesses to Missouri and keep us competitive with surrounding States, I’ve consistently supported teachers and administrators on tough issues, and I’ve helped restore cuts and withholds to public schools and universities proposed by the Governor.

I’m honored to be the Republican nominee for Speaker Pro-Tem of the Missouri House, and I intend to lead on these same principles.

When the Governor withheld funding for capital projects at our public state universities even though the funding was there, I was outspoken in my opposition.  When the Governor proposed the idea to make public universities spend down their limited reserves instead of receive funding from the State, I again spoke out against his actions.

Unfortunately, jobs in Missouri are bleeding to other States that have perceived better business friendly environment and tax policies. We can look at the headquarters of AMC Movie Theaters, Teva Neuroscience and Mazuma Credit Union which moved 1000+ jobs from Missouri across our western border in part because of their perceived advantageous business climate.  The fact is Missouri must remain competitive with other Midwestern States such as Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kansas or continue to lose jobs, families and tax dollars to states such as these.

These states are showing the “Show-Me State” that high taxes on businesses drive companies out, while a business friendly tax policy attracts jobs and companies leading to more money for education and senior services.

That being said, I refuse to let the Governor get away with trying to bully lawmakers or innocent citizens into believing they have to be in favor of high taxes in order to support public education.  I firmly believe we can be a low tax state, attract more businesses to Missouri and adequately fund education.

While constitutionally Missouri is only required to spend 25% of its budget on education, we are currently spending 35%.  This year, we increased funding for public education to one of the highest levels in state history.

What happened to that funding?

Governor Nixon needed help trying to block the legislature’s bi-partisan income tax cut in House Bill 253, so he created a fake crisis in education by refusing to release the money state lawmakers put in the budget for public schools.

In reality, there is plenty of money to fund schools (and that’s on top of the state’s $400 million surplus from the prior fiscal year), but by holding onto the funding for public education, mental health services, and other government programs with emotional appeal, the Governor has been able to deceive and recruit state employees, teachers, and education groups to help him lobby against House Bill 253.

He’s spent his summer flying around the state in his brand-new $5.6M, taxpayer-funded airplane, scaring school districts into believing they won’t be able to keep the lights on if we lower taxes in September.

If House Bill 253 is overridden during Veto Session, we will be lowering taxes for all working Missourians for the first time in nearly a century and retaining/attracting jobs to Missouri.  If the Governor continues to play games with the money, we’ll fight to restore the funding as we’ve done every year.  If we are unable to pass the bill this year, the Governor will release the funding and claim to be the hero of the fake crisis he created in education and Missouri will continue to lose jobs to other states putting more and more of a financial burden on the businesses and citizens that remain.

If the Governor disagrees with the tax/economic policies in HB 253, I call upon him to tell us about his detailed plan to retain and attract businesses to Missouri so we stop losing companies like AMC Theaters, Teva Neuroscience and Mazuma Credit Union to other states.

I want to put people back to work.  I urge Missourians and my colleagues to stand by me to support lower taxes, keep jobs here in Missouri and protect public schools from the decrease in state revenue if businesses leave Missouri.