JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Saying they would reduce state and local revenues by more than $700 million annually, Gov. Jay Nixon released a statement today slamming the “special tax carve-outs and loopholes” approved by the Missouri General Assembly in the final hours of the Missouri legislative session.
“While this Friday free-for-all will benefit a select few special interests, its far-reaching fiscal impact has thrown the budget dangerously out of balance,” Nixon said. “From special breaks for fast food restaurants to power companies, the only thing these giveaways have in common is that they were not accounted for in either the state budget or in the budgets of the cities, counties, and fire districts they would affect. By going on a $776 million special interest spending spree, members of the legislature have broken their own budget, and I’m prepared to fix it.”
Nixon’s office says that the result of the last-minute giveaways is a budget out of balance that will “need to be corrected.
Much of the cuts come from new tax breaks on a broad range of services from dry cleaners to fast food restaurants to country club memberships. A sticky legal dispute about whether grocery store operators could exempt some of their energy costs from state sales taxes resulted in a hefty tax break for businesses like Schnuck Markets, Inc.
The fiscal analysis by the Office of Administration’s Division of Budget and Planning found that the tax breaks largely passed on the final day will reduce state sales tax incomes by $425.1 million annually and local sales taxes by $351.4 million.
Nixon and some lawmakers said the cuts would result in a budget that was not in balance, a constitutional requirement. Further, Nixon and some of his allies say the tax breaks were largely added to existing bills in the last hours of the legislative session, bypassing the longer and more grueling committee process. House and Senate leadership did not immediately respond to Nixon’s comments.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.