State Sen. Mike Cierpiot is carrying the bill in the Missouri General Assembly to enact Gov. Eric Greitens’ proposed tax cuts.
“I think Missouri will become a much more attractive place to bring businesses to,” he said. Cierpiot and other legislators spoke Friday at a Blue Springs Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
Greitens wants to cut the corporate income tax rate by 30 percent, individual income taxes by more than 10 percent, establish a “working family tax credit” and phase out the federal income tax deduction. That would make the state more dependent on sales taxes.
Cierpiot, a Lee’s Summit Republican, called the plan balanced and says that although it amounts to $800 million in annual savings for individuals and business, it would not reduce state revenues overall.
Cierpiot he believes tax cuts pay for themselves through increased economic growth but also pointed out that can take awhile. As the state has cut taxes in recent years, he said, budget cuts have hit such services as foster care too hard.
“We’re giving them a haircut every year,” he said.
That underscores the need for balance, he said.
“I think our taxes should be as low as possible,” Cierpiot said, “but I also think we should pay our bills.”
Legislators also touched on other issues:
• Rep. Dan Stacy, R-Blue Springs, said he’s been working on bills addressing ballot access and the number of signatures required to get on the ballot.
• Bills to ask voters to raise the state’s gas tax from 17 cents a gallon to 27 cents have been filed. That’s to follow through on many recommendations by a statewide task force that studied roads, bridges and other transportation issues for much of 2017. Legislators said it’s unclear if any of those bills will pass, and Rep. Jeanie Lauer, R-Blue Springs, said such an increase would have to be just one of several steps.
“There’s not going to be one thing that’s going to fix this whole deal,” she said.
• A bill to raise awareness of human trafficking – girls and young women exploited for sex – is awaiting the governor’s signature. The problem is known to be nationwide and has gained wider attention in recent years.
“It is something that we definitely need to be aware of, and it is going on in our area,” Lauer said.