Moving Forward with Extra Session
On Wednesday, Sept. 21, members of the Missouri Senate put their stamp of approval on legislation designed to meet the governor’s call for the extra legislative session. The two bills passed by the Senate aim to make significant changes to the state’s tax code, while also addressing the needs of our state’s farmers and ranchers.
The governor’s call tasked lawmakers will passing legislation that provided broad, long-lasting tax relief to hardworking Missourians. Under Senate Bills 3 & 5, Missourians would see the state’s top income tax bracket reduced from 5.3% to 4.95% beginning in 2023. The legislation also includes language lowering the top income tax rate to 4.5% if certain revenue thresholds are met. In addition, the extra session bill also eliminates the state’s bottom income tax bracket. While many have questioned how the state can afford a tax cut of this size, it is important to point out that Missouri is currently enjoying a $4 billion general revenue surplus. As we continue to see high prices at the grocery store and at the gas pump, we must do everything we can to make life easier for our neighbors. Through SBs 3 & 5, we are providing important tax relief that allows countless hardworking Missourians to keep more of their hard-earned money where it belongs — in their pocketbooks.
Senators also put their stamp of approval on another bill that was part of the governor’s call for the extra legislative session. Senate Bill 8 establishes several new tax credit programs and extends other existing ones designed to benefit our state’s agricultural industry. A similar bill was passed during the legislative session, but vetoed by the governor because it only extended these specific tax credit programs for two years. Senate Bill 8 continues these programs for six years, as requested by the governor. In addition, I was thankful to see the extra session Ag bill include language I have sponsored for the last couple of years regarding anhydrous ammonia. This measure aims to ensure regulation of this important product is not overly burdensome, while at the same time preserving a high level of safety for this effective source of nitrogen fertilizer. As the chair of the Senate Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Committee, I was proud to support SB 8, because I believe it will make a real difference in the lives of our state’s farmers and ranchers.
With the Senate’s actions this week, all eyes now turn to the Missouri House of Representatives to see what they do with our work. If they take up both bills and pass them without any changes, our work with the extra session will be done, but if the House makes any changes to our bills, the Missouri Senate will be back in session to address their changes. Overall, I am proud of the work my colleagues and I accomplished this week. Through SBs 3 & 5, we provided long-lasting tax relief to countless hardworking Missourians, but we did it in a responsible way that doesn’t tie the hands of future lawmakers. In SB 8, we provided one of our state’s top industries with the resources it needs to continue to grow and thrive. As I said earlier, I am proud of our work, and I am hopeful we can come to an agreement with our colleagues in the House to wrap up this extra legislative session and move our great state forward.
As always, I am honored to serve the citizens of the 6th Senatorial District. Please feel free to contact my office at 573-751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate webpage at senate.mo.gov/Bernskoetter.