I’ve written before about the misapplication and misrepresentations of the opponents of the Missouri Jobs Act (MJA). Usually these misrepresentations take place in the political arena. The Missouri Catholic Conference and associated publications entered in the foray, which goes to show that politics is everywhere.
It would not have been unreasonable to expect the MCC and the Catholic publications carrying articles on the tax reform proposals to be factual, even though they opposed the measures. If that is your expectation, you will be sorely disappointed.
In many cases, the articles were so far from the facts that one can only reach the conclusion that these writings were not intended to educate but to confuse and scare the readers. This has bothered many Catholics who have read the articles and disagreed with the Church getting involved in the first place, much less printing dubious information.
In fact, many have told me they have contacted the editors of the publications in question. Several people sent me a link to The Catholic Knight, which carried a response from a Catholic point of view. While the video in The Catholic Knight posting addresses the national fair tax implementation, which is not the same as the MJA, it does provide information about the MJA and the misrepresentations taking place in Catholic publications.
The fact is a working model for the tax reform proposal is right next door. Tennessee has been operating with a sales tax as its primary source of income for well over 60 years. That state has not only caught up with Missouri, but it has surpassed us in almost every economic measure.
The majority of initiative petitions regarding the MJA that have been approved by the Secretary of State call for eliminating the individual income tax and the current sales and use tax and replacing them with a consumer driven sales tax. A majority of those petitions do not replace the corporate income tax. So how much money would Missouri need to raise with the tax reform proposal?
Take a look at this example from Fiscal Year 2010 state revenue collections. Tennessee collected over $6.1 billion from its sales tax in FY10 using a narrow, hollow tax base, which includes a 6% sales tax on food. Missouri collected just over $6.1 billion from individual income and sales and use taxes in FY10. The MJA proposals would tax a broader base of goods and services than Tennessee does, which means they would easily meet the revenue needs of the state.
It’s important to recognize that none of the articles in the various Catholic publications dealt with specific bills except one. An article was published using Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 1 as the specific bogey man and then argued why the MJA should be defeated. The problem with that article was the author either did not talk with the sponsor of the bill or he decided to misrepresent it after he did.
If the author of the article on SJR1 had talked with the sponsor, she would have told him that the bill he so ardently used to scare and mislead people was going nowhere. He would have found out that it was merely a place holder until she developed the version she intended to work through the legislative process.
Knowledge is a powerful tool. It’s unfortunate that the author of the article on SJR1 either chose not to gain all the knowledge possible or, even worse, he ignored the truth. It’s even more unfortunate that articles are allowed to be printed by authoritative organizations without first doing any due diligence.