Before the legislative session ends, a coalition of eight groups hope lawmakers can push through an internet sales tax bill so collections could be used to establish a cash operating expense fund, finance transportation projects, and otherwise alleviate state debt.
The cohort sent letters to every state senator and representative last week, noting the financial impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the state and individuals.
The group of eight included the: American Council of Engineering Companies, Associated General Contractors of America, Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association, Missouri Limestone Producers Association, Missouri Municipal League, Missouri/Kansas Chapter of the American Concrete Pavement Association, Missourians for Transportation Investment, and SITE Improvement Association.
The letter is as follows:
COVID-19 has taken a terrible toll on Missourians’ physical and financial health. It has also caused significant damage to Missouri’s state budget.
As Missourians try to avoid both health exposure and financial exposure, they are spending less, driving state sales tax collections lower. Because fewer people are traveling, motor fuel tax revenue for road and bridge construction is declining. Additionally, from March 15 to April 11, 339,208 Missourians filed initial claims for unemployment. For context, there were only 401,155 claims in 2019 and 2018 combined. The resulting impact on state income tax collections will be significant. Some estimates show a $1 billion shortfall from the current $10 billion general revenue fund.
That is why we support Governor Parson’s commonsense call to utilize internet sales/use taxes to establish a Cash Operating Expense fund, and to use additional revenues from internet sales/use tax collection to fund state road improvements and pay off state debt.
Even before the Coronavirus exposed the fragility of the state budget, other crises, such as flooding placed strains on state budgets. That is why the Governor was absolutely correct in his State of the State speech, when he proposed using internet sales/use tax collections to fund a Cash Operating Expense Fund to protect Missouri’s budget against shortfalls caused by crises. If Missouri already had a Cash Operating Expense Fund in place, the painful cuts you, as a legislator, would have to make would be partially mitigated.
Internet sales/use taxes are not new taxes. They are existing taxes that have been previously uncollected due to inadequate collection mechanisms, including self-reporting by the purchaser. We strongly support legislation that would better capture internet sales/use taxes and use them to establish and fund the Cash Operating Expense Fund, fund state road improvements, and pay off state debt.
We request your support in the passage of this commonsense approach to safeguard our state budget against future crises.
American Council of Engineering Companies
Associated General Contractors of Missouri
Missouri Asphalt Pavement Association
Missouri Limestone Producers Association
Missouri Municipal League
Missouri/Kansas Chapter, American Concrete Pavement Association
Missourians for Transportation Investment
SITE Improvement Association
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is the editor of The Missouri Times. She joined the newspaper in early 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City.
Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S., including the 2016 presidential election, and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa and the Middle East.
She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. She is also an alumna of the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C.
Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.