By Marshall Griffin, KWMU
Jefferson City, MO – Two State House committees have approved using federal stimulus money to give Missourians a $1 billion tax cut.
The House Rules and Tax Policy committees each voted out the measure to cut state income taxes as part of the state budget.
Democrats argued that budget bills must be heard by the Budget Committee in order to be approved.
And Democratic members of the House Rules Committee took their disapproval one step further, as voiced by State Representative Don Calloway (D, Bel-Nor).
"I think I'm going to get up and leave, with all due respect to the committee, but out of the utmost respect for the rules and the institution of the House...and I would ask that colleagues on both sides follow me and not participate in (this) sham process," Calloway said.
Calloway and the rest of the Democrats on the Rules Committee then stood up and walked out of the room.
GOP members defended the process, saying the House Speaker has the right to assign a bill to any committee he desires.
Another St. Louis lawmaker, State Representative Jeanette Mott (D), has cited analysis from the Washington-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which claims that the proposed state income tax cut would primarily benefit the weathy.
House Majority Floor Leader Steven Tilley (R, Perryville) disagrees.
"I think it's a tax cut for people who work and pay taxes, that's what I think, and we can have differing opinions, but I think the Speaker is on the right path...I (also) think our caucus is on the right path...(we're) basically saying, 'we want to give this money back to the people who pay the taxes,'" Tilley said.
The full Missouri House is expected to debate the bill Wednesday.