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    HomePoliticsTax rebate checks floated as lawmakers return to Capitol | Politics

    Tax rebate checks floated as lawmakers return to Capitol | Politics

    JEFFERSON CITY — A top Senate budget writer rejected a major component of Gov. Mike Parson’s tax cut plan and instead called Wednesday for $325 rebate checks to be sent to Missouri taxpayers by Dec. 1.

    In legislation filed on the opening day of a special session called by the governor, Sen. Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, said individuals who earn $150,000 or less would receive the checks.







    200 years: A B-2 stealth bomber flies over the State Capitol following the swearing-in of Missouri Gov. Mike Parson in Jefferson City on Jan. 11. Missouri became a state on Aug. 10, 1821. (Robert Cohen, rcohen@post-dispatch.com)




    Couples filing jointly and earning less than $300,000 annually would receive $650 checks.

    The plan also would phase in additional reductions in the overall income tax rate if state tax revenues meet certain thresholds, ending when the rate hits 4.5%.

    The proposal by Hough, who is expected to take the reins of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee next year, is similar to a rebate check plan vetoed by Parson in June.

    Rather than issue rebate checks, the governor called the Legislature back to the Capitol to act on his call for a $700 million election year tax cut by moving the state’s current income tax rate from 5.3% to 4.8%.

    The Republican governor says the timing is right for a reduction after the state general revenue fund through July 31 had a surplus of more than $4.2 billion. Tax revenues have increased nearly 24% this fiscal year.

    Along with those increases, Missouri’s budget has been fueled by more than $9.8 billion in federal pandemic aid since April 2020.

    Democrats have cautioned that even with flush coffers the state is failing to provide adequate services, ranging from long waiting times on state hotlines to a lack of bed space in mental hospitals and nursing homes for military veterans.

    And, they say, Missouri could be caught short of funds in an economic downturn.

    A price tag for Hough’s legislation, which includes a series of tax breaks for agriculture businesses sought by Parson, was not available Wednesday.  Aides said it could be next week before the cost of the tax rebates is compiled.

    In the House, Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith said Tuesday he supports the governor’s call for a tax reduction, but is reviewing additional options, including a phased-in reduction that goes further than 4.8% in the coming years.

    The differences between Parson, Hough and a House tax reduction plan sets the stage for what could be weeks of negotiations over the details in the Republican-controlled Legislature.

    But the overall sentiment for cutting taxes appeared to be shared. In the Senate, nearly two dozen separate pieces of tax cutting legislation were filed Wednesday by 11 different senators.

    “We should return as much of people’s hard earned money to them,” said lame-duck Sen. Bob Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, who is term-limited after eight years in the upper chamber.

    Sen. Mike Moon, R-Ash Grove, introduced legislation that would further reduce the corporate income tax rate, which stands at 4%.

    “I think it’s time that we consider lowering it again,” Moon said.

    Sen. Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg, filed a measure that would eliminate the corporate tax.

    House Speaker Pro Tem John Wiemann, R-O’Fallon, said House and Senate leaders are working together to craft a plan that can meet the muster of rank-and-file lawmakers.

    He said the talks have been amicable.

    “We’re just not there yet,” Wiemann said.

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