Tuesday was an historic day for Missouri. Not a proud day, not a happy day, but historic nonetheless. Since January, the state has effectively been run by the president pro tem and the speaker of the House as the cloud of controversy swirled around the governor. Sen. Ron Richard and Rep. Todd Richardson guided the Legislature through a very successful session while providing steady leadership for state government.
In time, their significance will be lost to all but the most ardent students of history. However, for the foreseeable future, anyone who spent time in the state Capitol during the 2018 session knows how critical these men were to guiding the state through some very dark hours.
Friday was another historic day for our state. Missouri is now under the leadership of Mike Parson. Many people have asked me this week "who is Mike Parson?" First and foremost, he is a man of strong faith and traditional family values. He put his life on the line serving in the U.S. Army, as well as the sheriff of Polk County. While his service to the state and the nation is noteworthy, Parson takes the most pleasure in describing himself as a cattle farmer from simple roots.
I have had the good fortune of knowing Parson for many years, including six years serving together in the Senate. I know him to be thoughtful, deliberate, a man of his word and having a terrific vision for our state, characteristics Missouri desperately needs now in the governor's office.
In the coming days and weeks, the governor will have a great deal of important work before him. First among those will be hiring a staff that shares his vision and values, connecting with Missourians across the state and making decisions on bills passed by the Legislature. Richard has made the staff of the Senate available to the governor to assist this transition, as have I personally.
On Wednesday, the Senate convened to officially close out the 2018 regular session by signing bills and sending them to the governor for consideration. In total, 143 bills were Truly Agreed to and Finally Passed, and each must be acted upon by the governor no later than the July 14 constitutional deadline.
In previous reports, I have committed to discussing important legislation passed during the session, and I cannot think of a more important topic to highlight than tax reform. Among the bills sent to the governor, two are significant tax reforms that will ultimately allow you to keep more of your own money while still funding the critical functions of government.
HB2450 lowers the top individual tax rate from 5.9 to 5.5 percent immediately, while still allowing for additional annual cuts to 5.1 percent based upon revenue triggers established in previous legislation. SB884 lowers the corporate tax rate from 6.25 percent to 4.0 percent while closing loopholes and modernizing the current system. Both HB2450 and SB884 will allow individuals and businesses to spend more of their own money as they see fit. Absent state government reaching as far into their pockets, families will have more money in their budgets. So too will businesses, allowing them to expand and hire additional employees, pay their current employees more, and invest in new equipment.
State Sen. Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, represents the 6th Senate District. He shares his perspective each Monday during the session and occasionally during the interim.