Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Legislative session will end in two weeks and many issues remain unsolved. “St. Louis Public Radio” statehouse reporter Marshall Griffin is following the progress. He joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh Tuesday with updates.

Much of the session revolved around improving community policing.

Here is a list of legislative topics discussed during the interview:

St. Louis certified public accountant Lance Weiss talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Tuesday at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

State and federal income taxes are due April 15, making this the time to be asking those pressing tax questions.

Tax season is underway. So is a program that helps low- to moderate-income St. Louis families prepare their taxes for free.
401(K) 2012, via Flickr

A program that helps thousands of low- to moderate-income families prepare their taxes for free is underway across the St. Louis region.

The United Way of Greater St. Louis and four local tax coalitions are offering the service throughout tax season, including taking walk-in service at 20 sites Saturday.

Economist Art Laffer talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 13, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

What would happen if you no longer had to pay income taxes?

Retired financial executive Rex Sinquefield and economist Art Laffer believe it would lead to economic growth and wealth.

“Sometimes when you lower taxes, you get less money. But sometimes you create enough economic activity to actually get more revenues,” Laffer told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday. “If you start lowering taxes from very high levels, you can actually sometimes actually increase revenues. Not all the time, but sometimes that happens.”

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy |

The most wonderful time of the year means the least favorite time of the year is approaching: Tax time.

There are some things taxpayers can do now to help alleviate individual tax burdens in April, certified public account Lance Weiss of SFW Partners LLC told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Tuesday.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Legislation that would revive three benevolent tax credits in Missouri is being considered by a State House committee.

Tax breaks for food pantries, pregnancy resource centers and the Children in Crisis program all expired last year when lawmakers failed to pass any type of tax credit reform package.  Scott Baker, State Director of the Missouri Food Bank Association, testified today in favor of renewing the incentives.  He says according to the USDA, Missouri has the nation’s 7th highest food insecurity rate.

(via Flickr/Anderson Mancini)

It appears that Missouri has lost about $2.3 billion in revenue over the past nine years because it does not collect sales taxes on purchases made over the Internet.

A report issued by the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs says that averages out to around $468 million a year.  House Minority Floor Leader Jacob Hummel (D, St. Louis) says collecting taxes on Internet sales could help fund several critical needs, including K-12 schools.

“I think if you look at just levels of school funding, when adjusted for inflation, we’re back at levels in the early (19)90’s," Hummel said.  "Clearly this is a way to enhance revenue.”

(via Flickr/Tax Credits)

It’s said that one of the certainties in life is taxes.  However, taxes for 2012 are to some degree, uncertain because of ongoing negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff.

Host Don Marsh talked with tax expert Lance Weiss, C.P.A., of SFW Partners, LLC about end-of-year tax preparations and what can be done to minimize the amount owed on federal and state income tax returns due in April.


Despite being rejected by voters last month, there’s a new proposal to raise Missouri’s cigarette tax.

It’s part of a bill prefiled in the Missouri Senate that would also raise the state’s sales tax by one-half percent while fixing the state income tax rate at a flat 4 percent.  The proposal would raise the cigarette tax by 26 cents, from its current 17 cents per pack to 43 cents per pack.  It’s sponsored by Republican Senator John Lamping of St. Louis County.

via Wikimedia Commoms/RamblingGambler

St. Louis County and Pinnacle Entertainment have settled a dispute over how much the River City Casino in south St. Louis County has been worth for the past three years.

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Illinois is getting $2.7 million to strengthen its efforts to fight waste and fraud in unemployment claims.

The grant from the U.S. Labor Department will help beef up anti-fraud programs launched in the past year.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security says it has begun garnishing tax returns of unemployment cheats, working more closely with the attorney general and holding business leaders personally liable for misstating company obligations.

via Flickr/alancleaver_2000

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill garnered some unwanted attention last year when she paid about $320,000 in overdue taxes and penalties on an airplane. As it turns out, her three leading Republican opponents also have paid penalties for late taxes.

Local officials and Missouri vehicle dealers are sending emails urging Gov. Jay Nixon to sign legislation allowing communities to continue levying taxes on vehicle purchases.

But it appears to be an uphill effort because Nixon previously said the legislation would "bypass" a public vote and improperly impose a tax. Nixon has not specifically said whether he will sign or veto the bill.

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For the first time this fiscal year, Missouri's state revenues are growing above the rate needed to balance the budget.

The state Office of Administration released figures on Wednesday that show Missouri's net revenues were up 3.1 percent through April - or the first 10 months of the fiscal year. The 2012 budget is based on 2.7 percent growth.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Woman wins $6 million judgment against "Girls Gone Wild"

A St. Louis judge in has awarded nearly $5.77 million to a woman who sued the makers of the "Girls Gone Wild" videos for using an image of her bare breasts without her consent.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the verdict from Judge John Garvey came down in March, after no one showed up for the defense.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

Missouri's revenues are up over last year - they're just not growing fast enough to keep the state's budget in balance.

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Missouri House members have voted to reject a tax plan that would increase property taxes for the best farms.

Property taxes for farms are based on the land's "productive value." Farms are divided into eight groups based on land quality, with the best in Grade 1 and the worst in Grade 8. The Missouri Tax Commission has recommended increasing productive values for the four highest grades.

The property tax changes for 2013 and 2014 take effect unless the Legislature approves a resolution to reject them. House members voted 117-39 on Tuesday to reject the tax proposal.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Missouri businessman Rex Sinquefield has donated $1.3 million to a committee that supports overhauling the state's tax code.

The committee Let Voters Decide backs a proposed ballot measure that would replace Missouri's income tax with a broader sales tax. Missouri Ethics Commission records show Sinquefield made the donation Monday. Campaign contributions of more than $5,000 must be reported within 48 hours.

(via Flickr/lilhelen)

The Illinois Supreme Court has upheld a law that created a $31 billion statewide construction program.

It unanimously rejected arguments that lawmakers improperly mixed together different issues in a single piece of legislation.

The court on Monday said all parts of the law had "a natural and logical connection" to the public works program.

(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

Gov. Jay Nixon has signed legislation to gradually repeal a tax on some Missouri businesses.

The bill reduces Missouri's franchise tax rate over the next several years before repealing it altogether for the 2016 tax year. Nixon signed the measure Tuesday in Kansas City at Boulevard Brewing Co. He said repealing the measure will provide an incentive for companies to move to Missouri.

The state's franchise tax was levied in 1917 and applies to company assets such as buildings and inventory.