JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Times published an early draft Wednesday of recommendations from the Governor’s Committee on Simple, Fair, and Low Taxes. Some of the recommendations in the draft included a total elimination of the corporate income tax (to be replaced by a gross receipts tax) and a reduction to the individual income tax, but increased sales taxes on some goods like gas and groceries, despite a slightly lower sales tax rate overall.
Critics, especially Democrats, have lambasted those changes as disproportionately hurting the lower class. Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh said that in light of the state’s budgetary woes, which Democrats blame on corporate tax cuts, the state should not be looking at ways to initiate further cuts.
“Special interest tax breaks have already drained our budget and made it harder to fund priorities like education, economic development and transportation,” Walsh said in a statement. “It is astonishing to see Gov. [Eric] Greitens’ think about even more reckless corporate breaks, while trying to create a new food tax that will hurt working families the most. It’s time the governor fought back against the special interests who have bankrolled his operation and start standing up for working families, and he can start by pulling the food tax proposal from his commission’s report before it becomes final”
Greitens’ plan to re-institute sales tax on groceries to pay for eliminating corporate income tax is awful. People need to eat, Governor.
— Scott Sifton (@ScottSifton) June 29, 2017
Missouri Democratic Party Chair Stephen Webber focused on the new grocery tax as well in his assessment of the plan.
“Creating a food tax for Missourians is the latest bad idea from Eric Greitens that would make the status quo even worse for working Missourians in order to benefit his millionaire and billionaire political donors,” Webber said. “Before this plan becomes final, we need to stand up and tell Eric Greitens to reject this food tax.”
Greitens formed the committee when he took office in January, and June 30 marks the day a final plan is scheduled to be submitted to his desk. No Democrats were appointed to serve on the special committee.
During the committee’s hearings, attendance was typically low from the appointed members, as The Missouri Times often reported, and rumors suggested the report had been written months before the deadline and months before the end of public and expert testimony the committee was supposed to consider for their report. Whether or not the draft matches the final recommendations the governor will use to push to turn into law remains to be see.