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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Rep. Christofanelli On Internet Sales Tax, Charter Schools And Clean Missouri

State Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Charles County
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
State Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Charles County

State Rep. Phil Christofanelli joins Politically Speaking for the first time to talk about some of his key priorities for the 2019 legislative session.

The second-term Republican lawmaker represents Missouri’s 105th House District, which takes in portions of St. Charles County.

A graduate of Washington University, Christofanelli was elected as a Republican committeeman when he was 21. He later served on the Missouri Republican Party state executive committee. Before getting elected to the House in 2016, Christofanelli was press secretary for U.S. Congressman Dan Benishek, R-Michigan.

Since entering the Legislature, Christofanelli has zeroed in an array of fiscal issues. He sponsored legislation requiring the Missouri Department of Revenue to map out the state’s special taxing districts, which was signed into law last year.

This year, he was selected to serve on a committee examining whether Missouri should require out-of-state online retailers to charge sales tax. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that states could charge tax on purchases made on out-of-state sellers, even if those retailers don’t have a physical presence in the state.

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One of the big questions, besides whether Missouri will actually adopt a law, is where the money should go — and how much should go into state or municipal coffers.

Here’s what Christofanelli had say during the show:

  • He is not necessarily in favor of steering proceeds from internet sales taxes to particular programs. Rather, he wants to use the funds to effectively pay for income-tax cuts.
  • He’s sponsoring legislation that would create education savings accounts. That involves a private entity donating to a fund and receiving a tax credit. In turn, students could use the funds to pay for private or public schools. Christofanelli’s legislation recently passed out of committee.
  • Christofanelli is a supporter of legislation that could expand charter schools in certain parts of the state. Among other things, the bill allows a charter school to appeal to the Missouri Charter Public School Commission if a school board rejects a bid to purchase an empty building.
  • Like many other Republican lawmakers, Christofanelli is an opponent of a new state legislative redistricting system that voters approved last year. He said it’s more likely that legislators will place a constitutional amendment repealing that new process next year, though he added that a proposal may be introduced this session.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Phil Christofanelli on Twitter: @phlchristo

Music: “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks

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