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Examiner
  • Is state headed for fiscal crisis?

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  • Marvin Sands
    Independence
    To the editor:
    The ridiculous Senate Bill 509, which benefits the rich and powerful in Missouri, was strongly encouraged by Rex Sinquefield of St. Louis. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon, but his veto was barely overridden by Republicans with one lonely defector from the St. Louis area.
    Republicans, especially Rep. Noel Torpey of Independence and Sen. Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit, have strongly supported this bill, suggesting it will have huge benefits for the state. What neither has told his constituents is there is a certain law in Missouri called the Hancock Amendment. The Hancock Amendment is a very complicated law, but here is basically how it works:
    “In general, subject to certain definitions, exceptions and enforcement processes, the Hancock Amendment limited total state revenues and expenses in Missouri to a percentage of personal income of persons in Missouri, required the state of Missouri to continue to fund expenditures of local political subdivisions required by state law, and required new local tax, licenses or fees to be approved by the voters of such political subdivisions.”
    In other words, it places limits on the amount of revenue the state can take in over a certain period , and if the state should take in more than it should, it has to return the excess to taxpayers, which has been done in previous years.
    The Hancock Amendment was one of the nation’s first state tax-limitation amendments, and is still in effect. Missouri has one of the lowest state tax resources in the entire country and further reducing tax resources for the benefit of the rich and powerful could cripple the state financially, especially education.
    At a recent Independence Chamber of Commerce briefing, Rep. Torpey said that before the huge tax discounts could favor those rich and powerful individuals like Mr. Sinquefield, state revenues would have to rise a certain level before the cuts can take effect. What he didn’t say was that the Hancock Amendment might interfere with that “certain level” because of its tax limitation processes.
    Gee, it these guys would only read the laws of the state and be aware of them instead of taking their orders from Rex Sinquefield. Just think how much better off we all would be.

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