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Is there an alternative to St. Louis’ earnings tax? House committee leader thinks so

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Missouri State Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis, on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2023, during a ribbon cutting for the state’s first baby box at the Mehlville Fire Protection District Station 2 in Mehlville.
Brian Munoz
St. Louis Public Radio
State Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis, attends a ribbon-cutting on Aug. 8 for Missouri's first baby box at Mehlville Fire Protection District Station 2.

State Rep. Jim Murphy is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where he discussed possible ways to replace St. Louis’ earnings tax, the recent veto session and what’s in store for the legislature in 2024.

Murphy represents Missouri's 94th District, which takes in portions of unincorporated south St. Louis County.

Here’s what he discussed on the program:

  • His work as chairman of a House committee examining the earnings tax in St. Louis and Kansas City. Anyone who lives or works in those places has to pay a 1% tax. Murphy said he’s looking for alternatives. 
  • The 2023 veto session, in which the legislature declined to overturn any of Gov. Mike Parson’s vetoes. While Murphy disagreed with some of Parson’s decisions, he never thought that the legislature would be successful in reversing his objections.
  • What to expect during the 2024 legislative session, including whether Republicans will try again to place a measure on the ballot that makes the constitution more difficult to amend.
  • His analysis of next year’s governor’s race, which features three Republicans angling to succeed Parson.

Murphy was first elected to the House in 2018, defeating Democrat Jean Pretto by less than 300 votes. The seat became open when Cloria Brown decided against running for another term after she was diagnosed with cancer. She died in March 2018.

While 2018 was the first time Murphy was on the ballot, he’s been active behind the scenes in GOP politics for many years. In addition to assisting Brown with her campaigns, Murphy helped with U.S. Sen. Jim Talent’s election efforts.

Murphy won reelection in 2020 and 2022. His seat has become more Republican since redistricting, and he won last year with more than 57% of the vote. Murphy is eligible to run for one more House term in 2024.

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