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Missouri House approves cut to state’s income and corporate taxes

The Missouri State Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Jefferson City.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
The Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City

The Missouri House passed legislation Thursday that could substantially reduce the state’s income and corporate taxes, a move Republicans said will provide relief to people across the state.

But Democrats said the legislation, which passed 111-48, is shortsighted when Missouri has so many needs.

Rep. Dirk Deaton’s legislation could lower Missouri’s income taxes from 4.9% to 4.5%. It would also reduce Missouri’s corporate taxes from 4% to 2% and eliminate taxes on Social Security.

Deaton, R-Noel, said there are “triggers” under which state revenue would need to grow by a certain amount for the bill to go fully into effect. He said that differentiates the legislation from measures in states such as Kansas, which drastically cut taxes in the 2010s and eventually had to raise them when revenues plummeted.

“This legislation will provide relief to all working Missourians,” Deaton said.

Rep. David Evans, R-West Plains, praised the addition of the provision eliminating taxes on Social Security benefits. He said that will be a boon to the state’s senior population.

“This is not something that's going to disproportionately help the billionaires,” Evans said. “It's going to help all those folks out there that have been working all their life, that may have worked two or three different jobs, but now want to retire comfortably on their Social Security and their other incomes.”

Democrats chastised the bill as a shortsighted move that could hurt the state’s financial status in the long term. They also questioned why the House was cutting taxes again when the legislature approved a reduction during last year’s special session.

“We haven't even seen the impacts of the historic tax cut that you all passed just a few months ago,” said Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis. “And you're already here talking about another billion-dollar tax cut, all while cutting services or refusing to increase them with inflation.”

Rep. Deb Lavender, D-St. Louis County, said Missouri would be better off if legislators allocated more money for state workers, public education and mental health care.

“We talk about investing in Missourians, we talk about money in the bank or in your pocket,” Lavender said. “What better way to use the money that's sitting in the bank than to put it into our government workers’ pockets? What kind of economic activity would that stimulate in the state? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could pay our homecare workers more? What would that do to the community?”

The bill will now head to the Missouri Senate.

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.