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Missouri lawmakers advocate for more tax cuts

The nation is currently facing a massive tax overhaul at the national level, and so is Missouri in its state legislature. Two proposals currently in the Missouri House and the Missouri Senate aim to significantly overhaul the state’s tax code. Notably, the legislation would increase tax cuts, cap several tax credits and decrease state revenue by over a billion dollars.

The Senate proposal was pre-filed in August by Bill Engel, a Republican senator from Weldon Spring. The proposal in the House has not yet been pre-filed, though the representative who introduced it, Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, states that it is nearly identical to the Senate bill.

Understanding the proposals

When the state passed major tax cuts three years ago, it capped the top state income tax bracket at 5.5 percent. The recent proposals would lower this bracket to 4.8 percent. The bill would also significantly reduce the budget for tax credits, capping the amount paid out at $425 million. Missouri's low-income housing tax credit would suffer greatly: Lawmakers intend to reduce it to merely $135 million. There is one tax that the bill would increase rather than decrease. The state’s fuel tax, currently one of the lowest in the nation at 17 cents per gallon, would increase to 23 cents per gallon.

Congressional controversy

Overall, the proposals have seen widespread support from conservative lawmakers and taxpayers. Though Democratic representatives have yet to comment on the bill, they are expected to speak out against it. Many of Missouri’s Congressional liberals have been critical of tax cuts in the past, saying that they drain much-needed revenue from public schools and health care. Republicans, however, argue that tax cuts are beneficial to the state's businesses. Whether the proposals will pass remains to be seen; the 2018 Congressional sessions begin next month.

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