JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved an amnesty period in which delinquent taxpayers would be allowed to pay what they owe without penalty, but the Senate's top Republican warned that the proposal might not make it through his chamber.
The proposal, which the House approved 153-1, would add an estimated $75 million to the state's coffers and has been factored into budget proposals developed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and the Republican-led House.
But Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey called the measure the "tax-cheat program."
"We think they need to pay their taxes on time just like every other taxpayer," said Dempsey, R-St. Charles.
Under the proposal, officials would waive the interest and penalties for those who pay their tax bills between Aug. 1 and Oct. 31. Taxpayers who take advantage of the amnesty would need to comply with state tax laws for the next eight years, or they would owe the penalties and interest that were waived. Participants would not be eligible for a future amnesty for the same tax.
Dempsey said the Senate would look at taking up tax amnesty as the state's budget process moves forward. A similar tax amnesty program in Missouri during the 2002 budget year brought in $74 million.