The tax reform proposals contained in the initiative petitions currently being processed by the Secretary of State’s office represent a bright future for Missouri. On Tuesday night, hear firsthand experience with a similar model that has been operating successfully in Tennessee by attending our Two Forums – ONE Vision event!  As with most things that challenge the same-old-same-old, you can expect those who benefit from the status quo to raise the most…shall we say…ruckus about changing it!

We can all relate to those who want to stick with the status quo. After all, it’s comfortable, even if it’s not perfect. We know how to operate within the confines of the status quo. Heck, we even know how to manipulate and push the buttons under the status quo. Why would we want to change to something that we don’t know how to manipulate?

The latter is the primary objection of most opponents of the tax reform proposals. Oh sure, they will claim it’s not their prime objective. They will even use such claims as “it’s not enough revenue” or “it hurts the poor” or “education will suffer.” All of these arguments are demonstrably untrue, as we point out in Opponents of Tax Reform Running Scared & Away from Facts! and other posts on our blog.

Then you have local government associations that provide false, misleading or half-truth information to their members, thereby getting them all riled up. Local governments like the status quo too. They don’t want anything to upset their apple carts. They especially don’t want anything that actually might get their citizens to question their operations!

In our last blog posting on this topic, we debunked these notions and demonstrated that the state will generate more than adequate revenue to maintain its “support” of local governments. Many taxpayers are unaware of the fact that not only do they pay taxes to their local governments, but some of the taxes they pay to the state go to local governments as well.  Some of these “payments,” such as reimbursement of jail costs paid by counties to house state prisoner,s are legitimate. Others may not be so cut-and-dried.

The tax reform proposal will not cause the state to cut funds to any of these programs. In fact, the proposal will ensure that a more stable revenue source exists to continue paying the programs. But what about local tax revenue collections? How will they be impacted by the proposal? The simple answer is: they won’t!

Here is what the initiatives say about local government sales tax rates:

Here’s what all that legalese means: Every political subdivision with a sales tax will have it recalculated on the new broader base and under NO CONDITION will they collect less money than they did for the average of the last five (5) years. No cuts in services. No cuts in programs. No less money!

Unfortunately, that’s not what local government units are being told by associations that they pay YOUR tax money to join!  

Even entities such as schools, who do not collect sales taxes, are being told to object to making Missouri the economic engine of the Midwest! Not only will the state be better positioned to continue funding and even increase funding for education, but a significant source of that funding – the School District Trust Fund – is given constitutional protection rather than the statutory authorization it currently possesses.

Alas, too many political subdivisions are unwilling to find out for themselves what the tax reform proposal will do not only to provide a more stable source of revenue for the state, but also a better quality of life for the constituents they represent. Fortunately, there are some good folks out there, such as Camden County Commissioner Bev Thomas, who have taken the time to find out firsthand what this is all about – and support it!

So, if you hear an alderman, city councilman, mayor, county commissioner, school board member, superintendent, etc. objecting to the tax reform proposal, you should ask, “Have you read it for yourself or is this just the talking points you have been given by the people you are paying my tax dollars to work against me?”  OK, if you desire to be nicer, you can rephrase the question, but it’s fair and true!