Income-tax-cut measure moves to House rules panel

By Christine Roto

JEFFERSON CITY — Without any alterations, the Missouri House Ways and Means Committee voted to pass a bill that would cut income tax to the House Rules Committee.

Legislative staff estimates the bill would cost the state $620 million in tax collections.

The Republican-backed bill would reduce the maximum tax rate on personal income by one-half of a percent over a period of years, beginning in 2017. But the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Will Kraus, R-Jackson County, said the cut will not go into effect until the state’s general revenue exceeds the amount of money collected the previous year by at least $150 million.

Those opposed to the bill said it benefits only the state’s highest incomes.

“We don’t even have enough money to fund the state’s infrastructure,” said Rep. Jon Carpenter, D-Gladstone.

He added that the House recently passed a sales-tax increase to help fund state revenue.

Early in the session, Gov. Jay Nixon and Kraus attempted to formulate tax-cut legislation that worked for both parties. But that compromise effort fell apart when a Republican amendment added on in the Senate created a larger tax cut.

Nixon announced Thursday afternoon that the bill would be too costly to the state.

“Six-hundred-and-twenty million dollars is almost exactly how much it would take to fund the foundation formula and fund higher education at a level that will get us another tuition freeze for a year … That’s too much,” he said.

The bill now awaits a hearing with the House Rules Committee.