Following the Money in Missouri

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As they say, elections have consequences, and for the state of Missouri, the term “consequences” is putting it mildly. Last year, a bill to eliminate the state’s income tax and rely more heavily on the sales tax passed the House, but didn’t go very far in the Senate. Things could turn out very differently during the next session.

In a post-election report, the Kansas City Star says “Missouri Republicans won historic and unprecedented majorities in the state House and Senate on Election Day. The party picked up 17 new seats in the 163-seat House, stretching its caucus to 106 members and a nearly veto-proof 65 percent of the body. In the Senate, the GOP will be even more dominant, with 26 of the chamber’s 34 seats.”  These results mean that the personal income tax will likely be on the chopping block again. Tax justice advocates may be interested in “following the money” to understand why this destructive proposal has become such a priority for elected officials in the state.

Speaker-elect Steve Tilley has said that this plan to weaken and undermine the state’s tax structure is one of his top priorities. Not surprisingly, this proposal is strongly supported by Rex Sinquefield (bankroller of Proposition A — which eliminated the right of local governments to have local income taxes). Sinquefield reportedly gave Speaker-Elect Tilley $200,000  in campaign contributions even though Tilley ran unopposed in both the primary and the general election.

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