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Missouri lawmakers send tax amnesty bill to Nixon

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation designed to aid some delinquent taxpayers in Missouri is on its way to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk.

The House on Thursday overwhelmingly passed HB 384, the "tax amnesty" bill, which would allow people behind on their state income taxes to pay them off without additional penalties or interest.

The measure is also expected to generate around $60 million in revenue that Senate President Pro-tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, says can be used to restore dental benefits for Medicaid recipients.

"For all the discussion about our opposition to expansion of Medicaid, we're still taking steps to improve the lives of Missourians," Dempsey said. "This is a positive step."

If Nixon signs the bill into law, delinquent taxpayers would have to pay their back taxes between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, and then comply with Missouri tax laws for eight years to receive amnesty.

Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, had threatened to filibuster the tax amnesty bill unless it was used to fund Medicaid dental benefits. His amendment adding the dental language was approved before the Senate passed the bill Tuesday on a 26-7 vote.

The House vote was much larger, 150-4. Rep. Jeremy LaFaver, D-Kansas City, voted for the bill but criticized Schaaf's veto threat, saying his filibuster threat "hijacked" the legislative process.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.