JEFFERSON CITY — An amendment that would create a $1 billion, two-year income tax cut passed the House Tax Reform Committee on Monday.
Some Democrat representatives criticized the cuts as only benefiting the wealthiest of Missourians.
"Seventy percent of the benefit would go to the richest 22 percent of Missourians," said Rep. Jeanette Oxford, D-St. Louis City.
Another Democrat, Rep. Roman Lee LeBlanc from Jackson County, said that his constituents sent him to Jefferson City with his first priority to create jobs. He said they are going to ask him, "How are you going to give us $25 per pay period when I don't have a job?"
In a 7-4 vote along party lines, Republicans voted the measure through.
"I think it's a tax cut for people that work and pay taxes; that's what I think," said House Republican Floor Leader Steven Tilley, R-Perryville. "And we can have differing opinions, but I think the speaker is on the right path. I think our caucus is on the right path in basically saying we want to give this money back to the people who pay the taxes."
Oxford also questioned the legality of the measure because it might not be in line with the provisions set forth by Congress for the use of federal stimulus money and because there was no fiscal note attached to the amendment.
Some witnesses volunteered to provide statistics evaluating the possible economic impact on different socioeconomic groups, but the committee did not hear the testimony.
"A billion-dollar bill and no public hearing," Oxford said. "There better be some public testimony somewhere."
Some Democrats questioned the constitutionality of the bill because it exceeded the original purpose of the bill in violation of a state Supreme Court decision that restricts expanding the scope of a bill.
The amendment was attached to a bill that would create a tax-credit program for donations made to developmental disability care providers.
Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, said the state Supreme Court ruled in Missouri Association of Club Executives Inc. et al v. the State of Missouri that it is unconstitutional to expand the content of a bill to multiple subjects. Roorda said that by attaching this amendment, the committee would be violating this provision.
He said the committee was "proceeding down a criminal path."
Republican House leadership dismissed concerns about these accusations.