Under a draft plan of the Governor’s Tax Committee’s findings obtained by The Missouri Times taxes go up for a barber in Willow Springs, a gun store owner in Trenton, a man in Marble Hill buying a rifle scope online, or a person filling up their truck in Ashland.
However, this morning the Governor’s office is scrambling to scrap whole parts of his own hand-picked committee’s draft report. The Governor set a deadline for the committee to produce their work on June 30, and less than 48 hours before the deadline, trips have been rescheduled and a high-level meeting was held inside the Governor’s office to scrap most of the committee’s findings.
A draft of the report obtained by The Missouri Times shows its conclusions laid out in an impeccably footnoted and researched 83-page document to include:
- Raising the gas tax
- Taxing all purchases on internet sales
- Eliminating all of the state’s objectively managed economic development programs into one fund controlled by the Governor
- Raising taxes on personal income by forcing Missourians to pay taxes on the taxes they pay the federal government
- Imposing a gross receipts tax on all Missouri businesses
The report does include cuts to the corporate tax and a new scale of personal income tax, but still have the top rate at what will ultimately be the 5.5% the state is currently on track toward.
Many alleged that the committee’s conclusions to be preconceived before the hearings, designed to attack Missouri’s current economic development programs. Supporters of the committee claimed it was a broad-based committee designed to credibly review significant portions of Missouri’s economy.
The lengthy and in-depth report in its current form gives credence to its supporters. However, multiple sources both on the committee and inside the administration are pushing to completely cut 70 to 80% of the entire document in fear of public backlash and simply give the members of the commission a platform to attack those programs.
The draft report advocated rolling some of the programs into a forgivable loan program that would subject the programs to federal taxes and likely make them unsustainable.
If the draft report becomes law, it will take the state’s economic development programs away from the independent, objective boards that administer them and place them under the Governor’s total control with no meaningful oversight. These maneuvers are likely to worry those who have questioned the secret dark money fundraising operation the Governor controls as special interests could security influence the state picking winners and losers.
The draft report has already brought support from traditional advocates of increased state revenue, such as the Post-Dispatch. However, there seems to be an internal strife as commission member former Senator John Lamping told Tony Messenger with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in reference to a recent fundraiser leading House speaker candidate Rep. Elijah Haahr held.
“I’m disappointed, but not surprised,” said former state Sen. John Lamping, a Republican from Ladue. “There’s a reason the tax credit industry has been able to fend off reform. They attempt to use money and favor to control legislators wherever they can, especially in leadership.”
However, Haahr told Messenger that no money raised at the event came from tax credit developments.
The full draft report is below.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.