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Tax overhaul proposed to Mo. lawmakers

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Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio
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Dr. Joseph Haslag of the Show-Me Institute addresses members of the Mo. Senate.

By Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Jefferson City, Mo. – A proposal to replace Missouri's state income tax with an expanded sales tax was heard today in a seminar for members of the State Senate.

The proposal is backed by retired businessman Rex Sinquefield and the think-tank he heads, the St. Louis-based Show-Me Institute. Joseph Haslag is the group's Vice President and an Economics professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

"Removing a six percent tax on Missouri income would, over the next generation's worth of time; amount to something on the order of about $430 billion in extra GDP in this state...the standard of living that we're talking about is not a trivial number," Haslag said.

The proposed constitutional amendment has been filed in the Missouri House, with several Republicans signed on as co-sponsors.

But one of the proposal's strongest critics is Jim Moody, a lobbyist who once worked for former Republican Governor John Ashcroft.

"Who are the losers? Health care providers...when you get between prescription drugs and hospitals and doctors, again, straight out of this...if you add them up together, the taxes on health care will be more than $2 billion," Moody said.

Other critics say the proposal could raise taxes on everything from haircuts to private schools and daycare. Moody also told senators that apartment dwellers could see their monthly rent taxed.

If approved by the Missouri House and Senate, it would go before voters in November.

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