Missouri Gov. Parson is finished signing bills. So what’s next for the legislature?
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has made his decisions regarding bills state lawmakers passed during the recent legislative session.
In addition to approving a record budget, the governor signed 37 pieces of legislation into law and issued four vetoes.
With his work on this year’s legislation finished, most of the now-passed laws will go into effect on Aug. 28, with a few already active by an emergency clause.
State lawmakers are now awaiting a veto session and a special session called by Parson to cut the state’s income tax.
Special session on tax cuts
Parson’s veto of a one-time, nonrefundable state income tax credit was foreshadowed with his vetoing of its $500 million funding the day before as well as earlier comments expressing doubts.
The original bill would have given a tax credit equal to the amount of state income tax paid in the past year, up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for couples. However, due to the amount of available funding for the credit, taxpayers would likely get less than what they paid.
Now, instead of a one-time credit, Parson is calling for a special session for a permanent cut.
Details on what that tax relief would look like are not yet defined, but the governor did call for the reduction of the individual income tax rate, increasing the standard deduction allowance and simplifying the tax code.
Though a date for the special session has not been announced, lawmakers will have to return to Jefferson City on Sept. 14 for the annual veto session. They could hold a tax session at the same time.
Record state budget
The $47.5 billion operating budget was one of the more bipartisan processes this legislative session, with Republicans and Democrats finding many areas of spending to agree on.
Parson issued 32 line-item vetoes of the budget, totaling around $644 million. However, $500 million of that was funding for the one-time tax credit.
Despite the vetoes, the state still is spending record amounts of funding across departments. The bill funding K-12 education alone ended up totaling around $10.3 billion. Some of those expenditures include $214.4 million to fully fund school transportation. An additional $17.5 million was also added to that transportation budget.
Nearly $22 million will go towards grants aimed at raises for recruiting and retaining teachers.
The budget also provides enough money to fully fund the state’s Medicaid program, including its expansion population.
Additionally, the budget for this fiscal year includes federal money from the American Rescue Plan act. Over $460 million of that funding is going toward capital improvement projects for the state’s higher education institutions. Another $250 million in federal stimulus dollars will go to expanding broadband access.
The state has until the end of 2024 to fully allocate money from the American Rescue Plan Act and until the end of 2026 to spend it.
Voter photo ID
Before signing it into law, Parson called an election omnibus bill probably one of the most important pieces of legislation the state has passed in a long time.
One of the biggest changes is the requirement of a photo ID to cast a ballot. It doesn’t go into effect until Aug. 28 so it won’t be a factor for the Aug. 2 primary
This is not the first time such a requirement has been passed by the legislature. A prior attempt was struck down in 2020 by the Missouri Supreme Court, but Republican lawmakers as well as Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft are more confident this new law will hold up.
Racially restrictive property deeds
Another bill signed into law by Parson last week eliminated racially restrictive property deeds in Missouri. It also gives property owners a way to remove those covenants.
Owners can submit a “certificate of release of prohibited covenants.”
An investigative project by St. Louis Public Radio found more than 100,000 of the covenants still on deeds in St. Louis and St. Louis County.
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