Just the Facts Ma’am – Part II

Just as many people think Sergeant Joe Friday always said, “Just the facts, ma’am” – although he never said it – opponents of the tax reform measure the Missouri Taxpayer Relief Act use phrases and information that “sound” like they ought to be so but really aren’t. We recapped a few of those in Just the Facts Ma’am – Part I.

I mentioned in in the previous blog post that it appears the opponents are even confusing themselves. As evidence of this possibility, I offer the opponents introduction of alleged contradictions.

A couple of new slides were part of the presentation at the debate in Ozark. Both slides were intended to show some conflict in either language or various presentations done by different people supporting the Missouri Taxpayer Relief Act.  They did neither.

The first slide in question attempted to create the impression – the false impression – that one proponent said that all business to business transactions would be taxed while another said they would not.  If you take each statement in context, you will find they are not contradictory but are saying the same thing.

The Missouri Taxpayer Relief Act provides that there will be no business to business tax where the item being purchased will be used in a product or service for retail. Intermediate business to business activity, such as copy paper for the office copier, will have a sales tax paid on it. That’s what both said and that’s what both meant.  This can be found in the petitions in Section 1(f)(12).

Interestingly enough, Section 1(f)(12) is part of the confusion factor that Jim Moody attempts to use to continue to deny that there will be no tax on healthcare.  He used a tweet of mine from our last debate in Springfield, where I used the example of a for-profit entity buying an MRI as an example of “recoupement” and explained in Gone with the Wind and the Missouri Broadcasters Association. They would pay sales tax on that purchase but could not charge a sales tax on the healthcare service.

Moody attempts to say that 1(f)(12) overrides 1(f)(6). It simply does not. If the words “not subject to being recouped from another source” were not present in 1(f)(6), then the for-profit purchase would not be taxed. However, neither 1(f)(6) nor 1(f)(12) are dependent on each other and each stands alone. No ambiquity. No question. Any judge, even one who participated in the recent debacle known as legislative redistricting, would have no problem understanding that principle.

The issue of marginal and effective rates was also hit upon in the debate.  The statement was made that “nobody pays 6 percent.” That’s partially correct but not entirely accurate. We will cover that in another blog posting.

Perhaps one of the most disturbing revelations as to how far the opponents are willing to go to distort and confuse came from a prepared statement made by a long-term member of one of the area’s local school boards. She indicated that the measure should be opposed because of who may or may not support it. Forget about encouraging people to study the issue and get all the facts, which you would expect a school board member to do. No, the message was solely that we must oppose this because of who supports it. It’s a sad commentary on the state of education when we have school board members who not only discourage critical thinking, but who also don’t practice such thoughtfulness.

After hearing these types of “rebuttals” frequently, I’m beginning to wonder if the opponents haven’t confused themselves.  We might have to admit that they are so good at their objective of confusing and distorting that it works on them as well!

Carl Bearden
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