May 9, 2013

The Ayes Have It: Income Tax Cut Passes

The Missouri Legislature has passed arguably the state’s biggest tax reform in years, the “Broad-Based Tax Relief Act of 2013,” and sent it to the governor for his signature. Today, the Missouri House passed the Senate Substitute for House Bill 253 with a 103-51 vote. The bill reduces the individual income tax slightly, but more importantly, it cuts the corporate income tax by almost half over the course of about 10 years and the tax on other businesses by half over five.

As we have discussed — especially in the past few months —  a state focus on business taxation reform is well-warranted, not only because taxes on businesses tend to negatively affect growth, but because Missouri risks being left behind by its pro-growth neighbors if it does not act. I expect Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon will sign the bill, but even if he vetoes it, there may be sufficient support in both the state House and Senate to override him. Whatever the path to its final enactment, this tax reform is the right thing for a state in need of an economic course change.

As the original HB 253 demonstrated, there was considerable support for deep business tax cuts for Missouri’s companies. That bill would have cut taxes in half for all businesses over about a five-year period, including the taxes on C-Corporations — an excellent, literature-responsive idea. To be clear, the corporate income tax reduction schedule the legislature passed should have matched that for pass-through entities at five years, not 10.

Yet, that should not take away from the fact that this tax relief measure is a good first step toward instituting even better tax policy in Missouri in the years ahead. Kudos to all who worked to get this over the finish line.

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