Mo. Senate committee hears tax overhaul proposal

Jefferson City, Mo. – Supporters and opponents of scrapping the state income tax in favor of an expanded sales tax sounded off on the issue at a Missouri Senate committee meeting today.

Among the resolution's supporters was lobbyist and former GOP House Member Ed Robb. He told the Senate committee on fiscal oversight that the measure would transform Missouri into a "Mecca for investment and job opportunities."

"States without income taxes have outperformed states with them at least since 1997, which is the last time that we benchmarked state gross domestic product numbers," Robb said.

Opponents argued that if approved, new taxes would be levied on such things as rent, food, utilities and medical services, and that the use of state tax credits would be eliminated.

Pat Dougherty with St. Louis Catholic Charities says that part of the resolution would make it almost impossible for them to help their clients.

"We use tax credits for adoption and pregnancy and youth opportunity and neighborhood assistance, so when you pull the rug out from under us and our ability to help those, you're really pulling the rug out from the partnership that over decades and generations has developed in this state," Dougherty said.

But State Senator Luann Ridgeway (R, Smithville), one of the resolution's sponsors, says it would simplify Missouri's tax structure and lessen the tax burden of the average citizen. And she adds that people at or below the poverty level would not pay any state sales tax.

If the resolution passes out of the General Assembly, it would go before voters in November.