Caution marks state tax-cut plans

Incoming Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Peters

Incoming Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Peters

Emboldened by big majorities and eager to lure businesses, Republican legislators and governors across the Midwest and South are planning to pursue hundreds of millions of dollars of tax cuts in the new year.

Oh yeah, they might raise some taxes, too.

In many states, the exuberance to cut taxes during the 2013 legislative session suddenly has been chilled by worry about the potential consequences. Cautious state officials are now talking about the need for “thoughtfulness,” warning that they’ll “have to see how their numbers work out” and suggesting that tax cuts in one area may need to be offset with increases in another.

The change in tune comes as Republicans struggle to balance a core belief in lower taxes and bold campaign promises against the practical need to pay their governments’ bills. Political obstacles are less of a problem. A party that swept into power in many statehouses in the 2010 elections won even bigger majorities in 2012.

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