A state audit contends that a cash shortfall is primarily to blame for Missouri residents receiving their state income tax refunds late this past year.
Auditor Nicole Galloway said the state’s general revenue cash balance a year ago was at negative $86 million, which forced the state to borrow from its budget reserve funds for regular operating expenses. But she also blames late income tax refunds on Republican Gov. Eric Greitens for choosing to pay other state expenses first.
“Things like rent, maybe the security for (the Capitol) building, payroll, all of those spending obligations that passed in the budget — they have to pay those out,” Galloway said. “And then they have taxpayer refunds that are paid secondary.”
Galloway also said large corporations and the wealthy are getting their refunds ahead of the middle class in order to dodge paying higher interest rates on late refunds.
“This is real money to Missourians,” she said. “My office heard from taxpayers waiting to receive their refund because they needed to pay their bills. They were trying to pay college tuition and books. They needed it for necessities.”
She added that the Greitens Administration refused to cooperate with her office as she and her staff worked on the audit. She issued a subpoena last April to force the Department of Revenue to provide information on how it handles state income tax refunds.
Greitens spokesman Parker Briden called Galloway’s efforts “a cheap ploy by a Democrat desperate for headlines.”
“Our administration provided everything that the auditor was entitled to, which is why she had to withdraw her subpoena,” he said. “While Auditor Galloway is playing politics and posturing for the press, the governor is working to deliver tax relief for Missouri families and fix the messes that liberal politicians like her have created.”
The full audit can be viewed here.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport