As co-chairs of the Economic Justice Task Force of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW), we say a warm thank you to Gov. Nixon for his veto of the massive and dangerous tax cuts contained in House Bill (HB) 253. Missouri's tax system is already incredibly outdated, unfair, and inadequate, and HB 253 would have made it even worse.
Instead of joining the race to the bottom in which many states are engaged, Missouri ought to focus on raising an adequate amount of income to support the common good through progressive taxation. Rep. Jeanne Kirkton (District 91) sponsored a bill that did just that in 2013 - House Bill 843 - but her bill did not get a hearing.
HB843, the Tax Justice for a Healthy Missouri plan, would:
• Modernize our tax table which has not been changed since 1931 - the top tax bracket in Missouri starts at $9,000 of taxable income ($9,000 from 1931 equals over $128,000 today).
• Reduce taxes on average for the bottom 60 percent of Missourians through updated brackets and a refundable tax credit of $150 per person per household.
• Create a more fair tax system by requiring the wealthiest 20 percent of Missourians to pay an amount as a percentage of their incomes similar to the amount paid NOW by the bottom 80 percent.
• Raise $1.3 billion in revenue - upon voter approval.
These funds could better fund mental health, public safety, health, and public education, stop job-killing budget cuts, and preserve vital services for our elders, persons with disabilities and unemployed neighbors. We hope that Rep. Kirkton's bill will receive serious consideration in 2014, and we implore the General Assembly to sustain Gov. Nixon's veto of HB 253.