Missouri Senate Committee Negotiates Income Tax Cut

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri state senators on Monday advanced two strategies for cutting income taxes, but behind-the-scenes negotiations were still ongoing.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted out two bills on income taxes for the full Republican-led chamber to debate.

The first mirrors what Republican Gov. Mike Parson tasked lawmakers with passing when he called them back for a special session. Typically, Missouri lawmakers only work from January until mid-May.

In his special session call, Parson directed lawmakers to cut the top income tax rate from 5.3% to 4.8%, as well as increase the standard deduction by $2,000 for single filers and $4,000 for couples. He limited tax cuts to a maximum $700 million price tag per year.

The committee sent legislation with those provisions to the floor without making any changes.

An alternative plan would bring state income taxes down to 5%, plus another .1% per year if the state meets revenue growth benchmarks until the rate hits 4.5%.

Revenue growth thresholds would be tied to inflation, a difference compared to Parson's original plan.

The legislation, sponsored by Republican Sens. Lincoln Hough and Andrew Koenig, also would eliminate the bottom tax bracket. Hough said he was still working behind the scenes to reach a compromise.

The Missouri chapter of Americans for Prosperity and Associated Industries of Missouri backed Parson's plan and the alternative Senate bill during a Monday committee hearing.

But Missouri AARP Advocacy Director Jay Hardenbrook said the tax cuts would leave out seniors, primarily because they no longer pay income taxes. He urged lawmakers to take steps to shield seniors on fixed incomes from future property tax hikes that could force them out of their homes.

“None of these proposals really look into dealing with the impending property tax crisis that I think there will be when the reassessments are done next year,” Hardenbrook said.

Senators on Monday abandoned an idea to provide one-time rebates to taxpayers this year, instead opting for long-term income tax cuts. The committee also did not advance proposals to eliminate corporate income taxes.

Committee members also chose to advance high priority tax credits related to agriculture in a separate bill instead of lumping them together with any income tax cut proposals.