Your Opinion: Reasons to sustain veto of tax cut
Thursday, August 29, 2013
We can hardly avoid the ads funded by Rex Sinquefield’s $2.3 million and Koch–affiliated money to override the governor’s veto of HB253. Their message that we seemingly have a surplus that justifies reducing reasonable and competitive state taxes on corporations and individuals is specious and is beginning to be recognized as the empty claim it is.
First we must acknowledge the accumulated $600-$700 million shortfall in funding the Missouri education formula is incapable of being fiscally addressed if we reduce revenues on a “hope.” This is how far behind we are in funding the formula. Assessing the “cost” of HB253 to future education funding in Sen. Kehoe’s District including the districts of our local representatives, the counties of Cooper, Cole, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan and Osage would lose more than $3.8 million in education funding annually.
Additionally, Missouri shed 2,847 teaching positions between fall 2008 and spring 2012. That teacher deficit and the underfunded school formula dictate caution over adventuresome reductions; because once the veto is overridden, the Hancock Amendment creates a systemic barrier to correcting it. “ Oops” becomes a serious dilemma. For all the promised advantages, HB253 fails to address core questions about our future and hopes we will take whatever scraps we receive.
Overall, Missouri would lose $692 million or $1.2 billion annually depending upon congressional action on the Internet tax. The promised benefits are unsurprisingly distributed with the greatest impact enjoyed by the top incomes. A family of four earning $48,000 would receive a projected “benefit” of $6 in the first year — the aforementioned scraps. A family of three earning $60,000 would receive a projected “benefit” of $15. A family of two operating as an LLC earning $500,000 saves $2,400, equaling the advantage of 400 families in the $48,000 bracket. Imagine the benefit to those in Sinquefield’s bracket.
Finally, HB253 eliminated the tax exemption for medical prescriptions adding a $20 million tax burden for our sick and elderly. Republicans couldn’t “punish” the appropriate section of the Department of Revenue during the conceal-and-carry hubbub, managing to penalize boat and mobile home fee service in error. Republicans wasted $7 million taxpayer dollars by failing to resolve the conflict between the primary and the caucus in the selection of the 2012 presidential delegates. And we are supposed to trust this Legislature to remove this tax increasing our medical costs without drama and in a timely manner.