By Marvin Sands
Much has been expressed and written lately regarding HB 253, the poorly drafted excuse Missouri Republican legislators came up with in the last legislative session to cut taxes in our state.
Supporters suggest the tax cut bill will spur business in Missouri and keep our businesses from leaping over to Kansas in order to take advantage of the tax cuts now in force in that state. The problem is that Kansas is struggling with reduced tax revenues even as its economy is perking up. So therefore, that can’t be an incentive to attract Missouri’s businesses. And besides, Missouri already has some of the lowest taxes in the country, so why would these businesses want to leave an already tax friendly state?
The answer to that question is they don’t. So why the tax cut bill? Here is the very simple answer: Mega-millionaire financier Rex Sinquefield of St. Louis wants to lower his taxes and the taxes of wealthy Missourians and HB 253 will do that for them. In fact Mr. Sinquefield is so adamant about this bill that he has contributed more than $2 million to get the legislature to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto. The veto session comes up next Wednesday.
Legislative Republicans say that the middle class will also receive tax benefits but closer examination reveals only about $6 a year while the wealthy would benefit to the tune of about $ 2,400 a year. Some deal for us middle-of-the-roaders, eh? The poorest of the state would virtually get nothing.
Here is the real downer and the one item that is crucial to our state – the cuts to education this bill would cause. That state of Missouri would lose multi-millions of dollars for educational funding, and the Independence School District alone would lose upwards of $16 million. Can you imagine what the impact of losing that kind of funding would have on our educational system?
You have to wonder how any reasonable member (if we have any) of the Missouri legislature could write such a horrendous bill? And it doesn’t stop there. This bill would also cut funding for infrastructure and raise prescription drug prices. Raising prescription drug prices will certainly impact seniors who are on fixed incomes and especially the poorest of our state.
Noel Torpey, the Republican who represents the 29th House District in Missouri which largely is in Independence, has signed on to help Mr. Sinquefield in his quest to pass HB 253 and reduce taxes for the wealthy. Mr. Torpey says he is for and supports education, but the truth is one cannot be for HB 253 and education at the same time because of the negative impact this legislation would have on our educational process. Mr. Torpey needs to come clean with the voters of the 29th House District in Independence which, so far, he has failed to do. So, what to do?
Contact Noel Torpey and tell him to vote to uphold Governor Nixon’s veto of HB 253. He can be reached at the following
• Capital Contact: 573-751-3623.
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Missouri, and especially Independence, needs to have a solid foundation for our educational funding and HB 253 will not provide that.
Marvin Sands lives in Independence.