On Wednesday, the House Truly Agreed and Finally Passed a significant tax reduction bill, SB 509 & 496. This bill will cut the top income tax (those making over $9,000 annually) from 6% to 5.5% by 0.1% increments. Pass through income for small businesses would also be reduced 25% in 5% increments. Both these tax reductions will be phased in over a period of years with the requirement that General Revenue grow $150 million between each tax decrease. For low income Missourians who make $20,000 or less, the bill will increase the personal exemption from $2,100 to $2,600. In addition, the bill will require that the brackets for individual income tax be adjusted annually for percent increase in inflation. This tax reduction will stimulate job growth and business expansion. Since there is a requirement for revenue to increase between the stepped reductions, it will not be detrimental to education, mental health, or other programs as the Governor has stated. The legislation has been sent to the Governor for his consideration.
Legislative Week Recap
This week Representative White’s HB 1801 (Rapid Response to State Disasters) was perfected and passed 150-0. This bill establishes the Facilitating Business Rapid Response to State Declared Disaster Act, allowing utility, gas, cable, and telecommunication companies bring in out-of-state workers for 60 days after the President or Governor declares a state of emergency without filing with the Department of Revenue. This will allow workers to provide assistance immediately in disasters. The out-of-state business must provide assistance in repairing, renovating, installing, or building infrastructure related to the declared disaster or emergency area within 10 days of entering the state. After 60 days, the business must meet all tax, registration, licensing, and filing requirements resulting from business with the state. During the perfection process, Representative White changed the definition of “disaster period” to a period of time that begins 10 days before the Gubernatorial or Presidential proclamation of a major disaster. If there is no proclamation, the businesses are required to register.
HB 1100 & 1421 (Food Preparation) was perfected and passed this week. This bill allows a nonprofit organization to prepare food in a private home or other area for distribution at a charitable fundraising event. The nonprofit organization must inform the consumer by placing a clearly visible placard at the serving location that states the food was prepared in a kitchen that is not subject to regulation and inspection by the regulatory authority. This bill specifies that a cottage food production operation, which is defined as 1) an individual operation out of the individual’s home, 2) produces a baked good, a canned jam or jelly, or a dried herb or herb mix for sale at the individual’s home, 2) has an annual gross income of $50,000 or less, and 4) sells the food produced only directly to consumers, is not a food service establishment and cannot be subject to any state or local food code laws or regulations. An operation cannot sell cottage food through the Internet.
HB 1690 (Cyber Crime Law Enforcement Forces) was perfected and passed. This bill extends the provisions regarding Internet cyber crime law enforcement task forces and Cyber Crime Investigation Fund that expired in 2012. The bill also adds assistant prosecuting and circuit attorneys, whose focus is investigating Internet sex crimes against children, to those individuals to whom the Department of Public Safety may use grant moneys to pay their salaries. The executive director of the Missouri Office of Prosecution Services, or his or her designee, is added as a member of the panel established in the department that awards grants regarding cyber crime law enforcement.
Representative White voted for all these bills.