On Tuesday this week one Democrat along with all of the Republicans, successfully overrode the Governor’s veto of SB 509 with a vote of 109-46. This bill offers Missourians the first tax cut in 93 years, and will go into effect in 2016. SB 509 will help Missourians by lowering the income tax rate from 6% to 5.5% through stair-step cuts, meaning the General Revenue has to gain $150 million above the highest net General Revenue collected in the previous 3 fiscal years before the income tax rates gets the next 1/10% cut. Small business will be able to deduct a maximum of 25% of pass through income through a similar process. The bill increases the personal income tax exemption by $500 for those individuals whose adjusted gross income is $20,000 or less, and the Missouri tax table that was developed in 1970 will finally be adjusted for inflation.
Budget is Sent to the Governor
On Thursday, the House and Senate sent the budget to the Governor, completing their one constitutional duty. This budget has provided a $278 million increase for the Foundation Formula, which would make the K-12 education budget the largest in the state’s history. The budget will allot $13 million for programs that will improve the educational experience for young people in the state’s three unaccredited and a few provisionally accredited districts. It breaks down to $750,000 for intra-district transportation; $3.5 million for additional reading instruction for students; $400,000 for math and science tutoring; more than $4 million for a preschool program; and $3 million for the Teach for America Program that works to teach children and effect change in under-resourced school districts. Higher education received a 5% increase to the core at universities and community colleges, and $6 million in equity funding for community colleges. The A+ Scholarship Program received a $6.7 million increase, while Access Missouri received a $15 million increase. This budget is working to keep the best and brightest in Missouri by providing full ride loan forgiveness for Bright Flight recipients who stay and work in Missouri.
By providing $4.5 million for matching funds to Early Stage Business Development Grants, the legislature is working to grow small business in Missouri, and attract people to Missouri through a $8.5 million increase to Tourism and giving $5 million to Kansas City contingent upon receipt of the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The state is moving forward by providing a 1% cost of living pay raise for state employees with a $25 a month deferred compensation match. The budget eliminates the Development Disabilities waitlist, and allocates money for an extra day of courier service to the state lab for newborn screening test results. It also expands stops to include eight additional birthing hospitals and testing on Saturdays. Money was provided to expand dental coverage to over 300,000 adult Medicaid recipients to cut down on emergency room visits, and a $14 million bond payment was provided for Fulton State Hospital.
This week Representative White amended SB 693 to include the language in his HB 1801. HB 1801 created the Facilitating Business Rapid Response to the State Declared Disasters Act that exempts an out-of-state business and its employees from Missouri withholding, income, and use tax and employment, licensing, and registration requirements for a period of 10 days before and 60 days after the President or the Governor declares a state of emergency or major disaster if the business has no registrations, tax filings, or nexus in the state before the declared disaster or emergency. The out-of-state business must provide assistance in repairing, renovating, installing, or building infrastructure related to the declared disaster or emergency and provide specified information to the Secretary of State within 10 days of entering the state. If the business stays in the state after 60days, it must meet all tax, registration, licensing, and filing requirements resulting from having business with the state. These out-of-state businesses still must pay their own state taxes for the period that they are working in Missouri. SB 693 has one more vote before it is sent to the Governor.
The House also passed HB 2077 (Surplus Reserve Fund) this week. This bill requires up to $215 million of General Revenue Fund moneys to be deposited into the newly created Surplus Revenue Fund, only if during the two-year period beginning July 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2015, state general revenue collections net refunds exceeding $16.834 billion. The General Assembly will appropriate the money.
Last Week of Session
Pursuant with rules, the General Assembly will end the 97th Regular Session at 6:00 p.m. Friday, May 16th. This is the week that amendments get added to bills and taken off in conference committees that can change the whole meaning of a bill. Representative White will be watching the bills very carefully to make sure things that are left in bills aren’t so bad that he has to vote against it, even if the underlying bill is a good bill. Representative White will be watching SB 693 to make sure that his bill, HB 1801, will stay as part of the bill throughout the final process.