Missouri is losing jobs and citizens to other states due to outdated economic development policies—including our tax system.
Our stagnant economy has led to a continually high unemployment rate, which is once again above 7 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hundreds of thousands of Missourians remain unemployed, and our state has lost more than 30,000 jobs under the Nixon administration.
The stagnant economy and hostile tax environment has resulted in numerous local employers closing down or moving just over the border into Tennessee, Kansas or Oklahoma — taking good-paying jobs and workers with them.
Our stalled economy and high taxes have caused this exodus of people and businesses out of Missouri to other states where it is easier for them to make a living and operate a successful business. These factors also deter new people and industries from moving into Missouri, significantly hampering population growth. As a result of this, we lost a congressional seat and the attendant influence in Washington that it provided.
By overriding Gov. Nixon’s veto of House Bill 253, we have a chance to modernize our tax system and lower the financial burden for every Missourian for the first time in more than 90 years. The simple reforms contained in this bill would help Missouri compete for new jobs and pave the way for the growth our state desperately needs.
Unfortunately, Gov. Nixon does not see things the same way. He insists that letting Missouri families and small businesses keep more of their money would be bad for our state because it would lower government revenue and result in cuts to services. As “proof” of this, he unilaterally withheld millions in funding from seniors and education and told the state they could expect more of these cuts if his veto is overridden.
However, Gov. Nixon is wrong. This tax cut would have no adverse impact on seniors or education as he claims.
In fact, lowering taxes will raise revenue in the long run by promoting growth and increasing the amount of taxable revenue earned in Missouri. Simply put, more people and more income means more tax money for the state. Looking back in history, the tax cuts adopted under the Kennedy and Reagan administrations resulted in tremendous growth for our nation. At the state level, we can look to Oklahoma and Texas as successful models to show that lower taxes result in more jobs, growing economies and greater tax revenue for the state.
HB 253 is the right choice for our state and will be a tremendous asset should we successfully override the Governor’s veto. It is not a monumental tax change like the one implemented in Kansas, which has caused them unforeseen budgetary headaches. Instead, it is a well-planned, modest package of updates designed to help Missouri prosper and keep more money in the pockets of our state’s working families.
To me, this legislation is very simple — either you believe in lower taxes for a prosperous Missouri, or you do not. I know where I stand, and during the remaining days left before veto session I will be working hard to recruit a supermajority to stand with me and vote in favor of overriding the veto on HB 253.
Rep. Tim Jones, R-Eureka, is the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives.