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Petition wants constitutional income tax reductions

Petition wants constitutional income tax reductions

December 9th, 2013 in News

A new initiative petition wants to change the Missouri's Constitution's language on income tax collections.

Missourians have until Dec. 21 to comment on the proposal, while Secretary of State Jason Kander and his staff, along with the attorney general's office, determine if the proposed petition meets the legal requirements for its form.

If it does, Kander then has 10 days to draft a ballot title that would appear on the petitions as they're being circulated, and on the statewide election ballot if the supporters gather enough valid signatures to place the issue on the ballot.

Comments can be made online through links on the web page at

If voters approve the proposal, it would change two provisions of the Constitution's Article X on taxation, and add several new sections.

While the Constitution now allows the General Assembly to set income tax rates, the

proposed amendment would make specific rates that could be changed only by a future constitutional amendment.

The proposed rates would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2015 - if adopted in the Nov. 4, 2014, election - and would be set at 3 percent for individuals with taxable incomes up to $15,000 a year ($30,000 for married couples) and 4.9 percent for taxable incomes above those levels.

Missouri's current top tax rate is 6 percent.

The amendment would allow lawmakers to define "Missouri taxable income," but the proposal blocks certain kinds of income from being taxed - including net profits from certain businesses, net profits from real estate or farm rentals rentals, and net farm profits.

The amendment also proposes to give lawmakers the power to enact "an increase in the rate of sales tax imposed for general revenue purposes or an expansion of the base of the sales tax ... only if the (state's) net individual income tax revenues collected" drop as a result of the proposed amendment's changes.

That would change part of the Constitution that Missouri voters approved in 1980 - when they required tax increases to be approved by statewide vote.

The proposed petition was turned in to Kander's office last week by Aaron Willard, who is treasurer of the group Grow Missouri.

That group was formed last summer, after Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed House Bill 253, which the then-new group said was Missourians' "first broad-based income tax reduction in nearly 100 years, while at the same time helping Missouri remain competitive with other states - like neighboring Kansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee - that either don't have an income tax or are taking steps to reform their income tax codes."

The veto was sustained, with fewer House members voting for the override attempt on Sept. 11 than had voted to pass the bill last spring.

Those petitions must be turned in to Kander's office by 5 p.m. May 4, 2014.