Missouri’s Gov. Parson stumps for tax cut while Democrats promise scrutiny

(The Center Square) – On the second day of his four-day tour of Missouri’s larger communities, Republican Gov. Mike Parson’s message on Wednesday in St. Louis was that his proposed tax cut is fair, focused and won’t jeopardize state programs.

When asked about possibly reducing or eliminating the sales tax on groceries or other use taxes, Parson said reducing the state’s income tax from 5.3% to 4.8% during a September special session will help all Missourians.

“The one thing you can’t do is make this an omnibus tax bill,” Parson told reporters. “If you do, then as many times happens in a special session, this will die of its own weight. We tried to make it as simple as possible, as straightforward as possible.”

Several legislators from the St. Louis area attended the gathering, including Rep. Donna Baringer, D-St. Louis. The ranking Democrat on the Fiscal Review Committee declined to give an opinion without thoroughly reviewing the legislation, which will be introduced in the Senate.

“I have not had a chance to sit down and go over it and I always look at the fiscal notes,” Baringer said in an interview with The Center Square. “Is it sustainable? What about income levels? Once I look at all of that, I can give you a better answer about if it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do. I can’t say yes or no right now and I can’t speak for my party. But I’m a fiscal person and I’m going to look it over very closely.”

Parson said the state would have sufficient resources to fund programs and a continually growing revenue stream if the $700 million tax cut is passed.

“We’re still going to have money left over for discretionary spending, hundreds of millions left over,” Parson said. “We still have hundreds of millions on the bottom line. When we did this we wanted to make sure we can keep this going for a number of years, not just one or two. We’re funding education at the highest levels ever, along with community colleges, universities and health care. We’re able to do that because we’re creating revenue every day and people are going back to work. And we still believe there’s going to be more people get back in the workforce, which is going to generate more revenue.”

Rep. Adam Schwadron, R-St. Charles, expressed optimism the tax cut won’t adversely affect state programs or budgets.

“I don’t think there’s any concerns if you take a look at our budget growth, the way wages have grown in this state,” Schwadron said. “We are working hard to bring more jobs and employers to the state, so we will have that base of residents working to provide that general revenue to the state.”

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