Plans for a special session of the Missouri General Assembly to consider a $700 million tax cut proposal put forth by Gov. Mike Parson have been delayed a week. And that's probably a good thing.
We applaud the move because we hope the one-week delay will help the Legislature ultimately achieve two goals: Pass meaningful tax relief that is sustainable and encourages economic growth, and restore a Capitol environment where success is defined more by searching for common ground on issues rather than scoring political points.
Parson pitched his proposal as a way to return some of the state's record budget surplus to taxpayers and to keep lawmakers from spending it on pet projects. His plan calls for reducing the state's tax rate from 5.3 percent to 4.8 percent.
Legislators were scheduled to come back to town for the special session Tuesday. But after a meeting between House and Senate leadership Wednesday, the decision was made to delay the start a week.
In a joint statement, House and Senate leadership said: "Our goal is to provide Missourians with the most substantive and effective tax relief possible, and to support our agriculture industry so that it will grow and prosper for years to come. Because of the important nature of both the tax cut proposal and the agriculture tax credits, we will continue to work together to develop a viable legislative package that can receive strong support in both chambers. Our intent is to continue discussions next week with the goal of beginning legislative action during the week of Veto Session."
In an email to staff Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Caleb Rowden said: "It was a productive conversation, and I certainly believe we have a path to provide meaningful tax relief to Missourians and continue to stand for our Missouri farmers. One point of agreement we came to was, given the nature of the scope of what we are doing here, giving more time for us to get it right was needed."
Getting it right includes finding a path in which the GOP infighting comes to an end; it has plagued the Senate for two years and ground most legislative progress to a halt. Legislators need a successful special session with a win or two to hang their hats on. But securing wins that benefit Missourians are more likely when legislators are willing to compromise and work together to achieve solutions.
Failing to find a way to work together will likely trip up any efforts to bring tax relief and will result in a waste of time and taxpayer money. We've been down that path before; let's try a new one.
-- News Tribune