Missouri Governor Pushes Legislators to Pass Stimulus Check Alternative – When the largest budget in Missouri history was passed in May with the support of the majority of state lawmakers, many expected that the $49 billion package would soon be signed and cash would soon be distributed across the state. The package included support for educational facilities, school transportation, personal care providers, and even $500 million in tax rebates.
The $500 million for tax rebates was half of what the state House had originally sought, but the compromise bill ensured that Missouri could finally begin allocating its unprecedented amount of surplus tax revenue to taxpayers and various institutions across the state. Under the bill, individual tax filers in the state would receive $500 in rebates, and married couples filing jointly would receive $1,000.
All Missourians earning less than $150,000 as an individual, and less than $300,000 as a couple, would have been eligible for the rebates – but the bill was ultimately vetoed by Governor Mike Parson.
Why the Legislation Was Axed
Governor Parson initially vetoed the $500 million legislative package from state legislators in July, arguing that the provisions within the bill left out lower and higher-income Missourians. Parson also suggested that the bill only provided temporary support and that taxpayers required longer-term relief instead.
“Since the rebates on tax liability would be pro-rated due to the program being underfunded, no taxpayer would receive the advertised maximum rebate. Many working Missourians, including low-income earners, high-income earners, and vulnerable populations, were left out of this temporary relief measure entirely,” a statement from the governor’s office reads.
Governor Parson offered an alternative for state legislators, calling for a special session to discuss implementing permanent tax relief for all taxpaying Missourians. The move, the governor said, would help people cope with record inflation, historically high gas prices, and the rising cost of food on a more long-term basis, rather than simply handing out checks that would soon be spent.
“I have always advocated for reducing Missourians’ tax burden and support the spirit of this legislation, however, the reality is, we can do better for all Missouri taxpayers than HB2090, and I want to focus on a comprehensive and permanent tax reform package,” Parson said.
The governor added that permanent tax cuts would “provide real relief” to families, the working class, small businesses, and senior citizens across the country.
Parson Still “Pushing Hard”
Governor Parson is “pushing hard” to renegotiate the provisions within the various legislative packages proposed by the state House and Congress this year, meeting with the Missouri House GOP summer caucus in Branson last Friday to discuss his plans and attending several other gatherings throughout August to drum up support for his alternative plan.
“I think all the meetings are going positive,” Parson told journalists in early August, referencing a series of meetings with Republican legislators.
“Doing the largest tax cut in Missouri history, and still being able to maintain education, health care, all the things we’re doing, we need to get that done,” Parson said.
Reports also revealed how the Missouri Governor has called for help from one of the biggest champions of tax cuts in the state, Rex Sinquefeld.
Sinquefeld isn’t just a champion of tax cuts, but also a prolific donor who has handed out more than $40 million to candidates in Missouri over the last year. Parson enlisted Sinquefeld’s support, encouraging him to meet with legislators and urge them to pass new legislation that cuts taxes across the board rather than handing out yet another stimulus check. In a series of meetings, Sinquefeld also appeared alongside legendary economist, Art Laffer.
It’s not the first time these three have worked together to pass tax cuts, either. In 2019, reports revealed how Parson met with Sinquefeld and Laffer to discuss tax policy.
Whether legislators will ultimately side with the governor and opt for long-term tax cuts, however, is yet to be seen. While tax cuts ease the pain over a longer period, the move could potentially open up conservative legislators in the state to criticism from Democratic opponents who may accuse them of slashing taxes for the rich.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.