Missouri has a unique opportunity. For years, lawmakers have looked at ways at streamlining taxes in our state. In recent years, the Legislature has made modest cuts, most of which are based on how the economy is doing at the start of a new year. Not only have we seen our economy do well during a pandemic, we have seen our taxes continue to slowly decrease, because of actions taken by the Missouri General Assembly.
Now, the governor has decided to seize this once-in-a-lifetime chance and make it real. On Aug. 22, he announced plans to have lawmakers come back to the Capitol for an extra session. The goal is to make a historic change to the state income tax. This would mean cutting the top individual rate from 5.3 to 4.8 percent, doubling the standard deduction for married joint filers and eliminating the smallest tax bracket. This would translate to a 100 percent cut for seniors who earn $20,000 a year and significant reductions for single adults, single mothers and couples all over our state.
In addition, this landmark plan would extend and create a number of agricultural tax credits. There was legislation that sought to do this earlier this year, which was passed, but was vetoed because the tax credit extensions were only for two years. A lot of us wanted six years. These existing tax credits have proven highly successful for our farmers, many of whom live and work right here in northwest Missouri. Agriculture is Missouri’s No. 1 industry. If we could make things better for these hardworking folks, on the heels of the state fair, it would be absolutely wonderful.
I applaud the governor’s foresight on all of this. This is about more than a legacy. It is about making improvements to our state’s economic health that will pay off for decades to come. Missouri could be the shining example other states would want to emulate. I fully support both the idea of a real tax cut and helping agriculture with those things that are needed for them. The extra session is slated to start Sept. 6, and will run in conjunction with our annual veto session. I am looking forward to doing some great things for our state in my final months as a state senator.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is email@example.com and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.