Senator Sater’s Capitol Report, for the Week of July 16: A Strong State Economy Means a Strong State Budget

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In the middle of the non-stop negativity and sniping of the 24-hour news cycle these days, something very positive that you may not have heard much about is happening in Missouri: the state’s economy is growing. Driving through your town or going into a local store, you’ve probably noticed more people and more products moving out the door. People feel more confident in the state and national economy than at any time in at least the last 10 years. They are buying homes, cars and going on vacations. They feel good about their own finances and the state of the economy.

Missouri’s unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, nearly a half-point under the national rate and general revenue collections (the amount of revenue generated by income tax, sales tax, corporate tax and other sources of revenue) are up 5 percent over the same time last year. Income tax collection, in particular, is up nearly 6 percent, suggesting Missourians are making more and taking home more money.

This highlights what many of us know and have been saying for a long time now: a strong economy with thriving small businesses and more jobs is the best way to grow our state. Some out there continue to push the false narrative that the only way to meet our state budget needs is to raise taxes and for the government to redistribute more wealth. In Missouri, we’re proving that theory wrong. Our general revenue collections are up 5 percent, while at the same time, we are cutting taxes. As I wrote about in a recent report, the Missouri Legislature passed an income tax cut for Missourians and small businesses this year and, just last week, Missouri’s treasurer announced that because of another tax cut passed by the Legislature in 2014, income taxes will drop by another .1 percent. Both of these tax cuts represent the first income tax cuts for Missourians in nearly 100 years.

This is good news for Missouri’s budget, too. It means we can continue to fund our budget priorities without cuts and without withholds. I’ve said it time and again – government should tax no more than is necessary and spend no more than is necessary. That being said, we do have some obligations as a state. We need to fund roads, public safety and our schools. Our stronger economy will ensure we have the resources we need next year for students in the classroom at the local level and in our colleges and universities. It means safer roads and that law enforcement and our justice system will have the resources it needs to keep Missouri safe.

Our strong revenue growth, job growth and low unemployment rate show the tax cuts passed by Congress last year and the tax cuts we’ve passed in Missouri are working. Missourians and Americans are seeing the results of these tax cuts and are putting that money to work in the economy. Businesses are also seeing the benefits and passing the tax cuts on to employees and customers. This should send a resounding message to any critics that government and taxes don’t grow our economy. It’s the people who take a risk and start a business. It’s the men and women who go to work every day and work hard to provide for their families. When those folks are able to go out and put their talents and abilities to work, we all win, and that’s why our economy is winning right now.

As always, I welcome your ideas, questions and concerns. You may contact me at the State Capitol as follows: (573) 751-1480, or by writing to Sen. David Sater, Missouri State Capitol, Room 416, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

God bless and thank you for the opportunity to work for you in the Missouri Senate.