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What is next for Grow Missouri?

KIRKSVILLE, Mo. — House Bill 253 might be dead, but Grow Missouri isn’t going anywhere.

Already working with legislators — including the 15 Republicans who voted “no” on HB 253 during veto session — on crafting a new income tax cut bill that as many people as possible can get behind, the coalition of organizations wants to make sure people understand they are not disbanding.

Grow Missouri supporters rallied in Chesterfield, Mo., last month before veto session for House Bill 253. (Photo by Brittany Ruess)
Grow Missouri supporters rallied in Chesterfield, Mo., last month before veto session for House Bill 253. (Photo by Brittany Ruess)

“What we have seen around the country from a number of states is that they have taken on tax reform,” Grow Missouri Treasurer Aaron Willard said. “They have looked at cutting taxes in other states as a way of growth. In Missouri, we’re feeling some pressure based on what’s going on in Kansas.”

That effort to compete with other states is a key aspect of what Willard said they will work on from here on out.

Coming out of veto session, the coalition is working on two main fronts:

  • 1. Strictly focusing on a single, very specific bill, which is framed around working with the legislature, and
  • 2. Communicating with the public on “who,” Willard said Grow Missouri is and what they want done.

“We’ve got a lot of members — probably the majority of the Republican caucus — who say this is a top priority for them,” Willard said on the legislative front. “The same applies to House leadership.”

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said while a lot of the messaging for HB 253 aligned between his efforts to get the bill across the finish line and what Grow Missouri wanted, he doesn’t necessarily work closely with the coalition. Rather, the coalition is a more independent body that invites people like Jones to share their message to supporters.

“I appreciate their efforts and support their philosophy,” Jones said. “They are pushing for common sense and fiscally conservative policies, which are good for the state.”

Willard said that he hasn’t seen specific legislation that’s ready to be pre-filed, but he has heard of several efforts. He also suggested that there is foundation for a tax cut that “could get pretty good support.”

The issues raised during the past few months by Gov. Jay Nixon, such as the unintended prescription sales tax hike, among others, are being addressed as these new legislative plans are being drawn up, Willard added.

“There was a lot of broad support for tax reform,” Willard said about what the coalition discovered prior to veto session. “We were able, because of the campaign we ran, to push the dialogue.”

Coming into an election year, Willard addressed the idea being discussed by many about making a tax cut vote a political issue as November approached. He said whatever is done with votes on the political front is an independent effort from what the coalition is doing.

“We want to be strictly there to help,” he said. “If we’re going to help the state move forward, that’s the way we need to go about it, keeping everything positive.”

Willard added that Grow Missouri hopes Democrats, including the governor, will be involved in the discussion as well.

“Our focus is going to be on Missouri doing better than we’re currently doing,” he said.