Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tax Credit Commission Draft

The draft report of governor’s tax reform commission was leaked.  The Missouri Times published it here.  It’s a fascinating document.

First off, it’s important to note that sources say very little of the 83-page draft report will be in the actual final report (to be released by tomorrow).  The final report from this commission will focus almost entirely on tax credits (section 8 for the report).

 

Still, the draft report contains some very strong ideas for tax reform in Missouri.  For a governor who is criticized for his “soundbite” governance with one eye on Iowa, this is a substantial piece of work.

Some of the stand-out recommendations (which apparently are being discarded for now):

Updating the state’s income tax to make it more graduated as initially envisioned instead of the flat tax as it’s become.  It would essentially give a tax cut to everyone making less than $20,000 a year.

Indexing the fuel tax so it doesn’t create an ongoing shortfall (in terms of purchasing power) for road maintenance.

Implementing general good government types of reforms like closing sales tax exemptions, simplifying compliance costs, creating a sales tax cap.

 

Then there are some recommendations which are really very shocking considering they’re coming from a Republican administration.  For example, the report argues for the Streamlines Sales Tax.  While progressives have put forth this idea for years, it’s inclusion in this report makes you wonder which commission members proposed it.  Every member is on the commission is a conservative Republicans.  From the wily Jason Crowell to the lecturing John Lamping to the adamant Will Kraus to Elijah Haahr – running for speaker – it’s hard to imagine any of them championing what opponents derisively call “an internet tax.”

 

Perhaps this was staff-driven.  Perhaps they created a draft that laid out all the best ideas (however politically painful) from which the commission could choose.  And perhaps that’s why the final report will drop all these ideas and focus on tax credits.  Ultimately, tax credit reform fits most comfortably into the governor’s rhetoric – special interests, spending your money, etc…

 

The section on tax credits contains the holy grail that Crowell has long sought: making them subject to appropriations.

But that’s not the most controversial part. The report recommends placing the discretion of tax credit approval in the Department of Economic Development. This creates as many pitfalls for waste, fraud and abuse as it mitigates.

And it would also transform the low-income housing tax credit program into a loan program.  The aim is to increase the efficiency of the state’s contribution.  But the idea of MHDC becoming a loan agency will certainly give some conservatives heartburn.

 

Meanwhile the section of historic tax credits claims no public benefit to subsidizing residential owner-occupied housing.  Only someone largely unfamiliar with the neighborhoods of the City of St. Louis (beyond the Central West End) could write such an absurdity.  You could argue that describes every member of the commission.

 

Greitens Vetoes KC Bill

Governor Eric Greitens issued his first veto yesterday, rejecting a HCR19 allowing a bond issue for UMKC.  From his Facebook post: Politicians are addicted to spending your money. This year, they passed a bill that would put taxpayers on the hook for over $75 million to build and run a conservatory for dancers and art students. I'm vetoing the bill, and I'm ready to fight them on this. They had no plan for who would pay the bills—about $55 million in state debt and interest and $20 million in operating costs. Worse, this spending was hidden in the budget at $1 because politicians were “borrowing” the money. That’s like saying something is “free,” because it's on a credit card. You know who would have to pay that bill? You. Missouri families. I think that's wrong. I'm a conservative outsider….

Obviously the Kansas City delegation wasn’t thrilled with the veto or with the general snarky tone of his announcement.

Sen. Ryan Silvey’s twitter rebuttal: Conservatives want gov't to run more like business. No business would veto the UMKC deal. Soundbites over substance once again. #moleg

Sen. Jason Holsman’s statement: [I]t is increasingly bizarre the way this governor talks about every situation like a playground bully and treats every public entity as an enemy. UMKC is a great institution with outstanding students, and they deserve more than to be insulted by their Governor.

 

Schupp Antes Into Re-election Bid

In the large contributions today, Sen. Jill Schupp put $200,000 into her candidate committee.  The quarter ends tomorrow, so this will serve as a down payment and perhaps make potential rivals think twice before embarking on a campaign.

 

CD2 Poll

Someone’s polling the 2nd Congressional District….

Here were the questions:

Do you plan to vote in the August 2018 election?

Will you be voting for the Republican ticket?

Favorable/Unfavorables on Donald Trump, Ann Wagner, Bob Onder, Ed Martin and David Wasinger.

If Ann Wagner runs for US Senate, her seat would be open. Who would you vote for? Shamed Dogan, Martin, Onder, Paul Curtman or Wasinger.

Do you consider yourself a Traditional Conservative, Christian Conservative, Libertarian or a Trump Republican?

Do you consider yourself a Conservative, Moderate or Liberal?

 

Today’s Events

From Mary Scruggs’ indispensable calendar:

Rep. Elijah Haahr Reception – Ritz Carlton – St. Louis – 5PM.

 

Lobbyists Registrations

Wade Hapgood deleted United Healthcare ServicesInc.

Richard Moore deleted Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

 

$5K+ Contributions

Schupp for Senate - $200,000 from Jill Schupp.

HealthPAC - $7,300 from Committee for Quality Healthcare.

Clay4Kids - $30,000 from Synergy Services.

CLEAN Missouri – $6,835 from Actblue Missouri

CLEAN Missouri – $5,871 from Actblue Missouri

CLEAN Missouri – $6,234 from Actblue Missouri

CLEAN Missouri – $11,300 from Actblue Missouri

CLEAN Missouri – $5,485 from Actblue Missouri

CLEAN Missouri – $8,219 from Actblue Missouri

CLEAN Missouri – $6,919 from Actblue Missouri

 

Birthdays

Happy birthday to former Sen. Tim Green.