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Tax Credit Reform

From the desk of Senator Jason Crowell:

Missouri Sets New Record in Tax Credit Spending for Fiscal Year 2012, Sen. Jason Crowell Calls for Reform

JEFFERSON CITY – State Sen. Jason Crowell, R-Cape Girardeau, today renewed his calls for tax credit reform following the release of figures from the Missouri Department of Revenue showing the state set a new record for tax credit redemptions in Fiscal Year 2012 of $629 million. The amount surpassed the previous record of $585 million from Fiscal Year 2009.

As the state made drastic cuts to its budget, notably in education funding, it redeemed more than $629 million in tax credits, on top of the more than ONE BILLION dollar unfunded liability the Department of Revenue says we owe in currently issued but yet redeemed tax credits.

“We just spent the last session crafting one of the most difficult budgets in decades. The public got to really see many lawmakers’ priorities, and it wasn’t pretty,” said Sen. Jason Crowell. “Members of the House proposed taking away health care for blind people. The governor wanted to gut higher education for the third year in a row. Yet there was almost zero discussion about reforming tax credits, which cost taxpayers more than half a billion dollars. It’s madness.”

Tax credit redemptions have grown over the last decade, from $143 million in 1999 to more than $629 million last year. The two largest tax credit programs are Low Income Housing and Historic Preservation. For Fiscal Year 2012, Missouri spent $164 million on Low Income Housing tax incentives, more than the budget for the Department of Conservation and the Department of Agriculture combined.

“We’re spending hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer funds a year to line the pockets of a handful of wealthy land developers,” said Sen. Crowell. “But reports have consistently shown these credits do not create the jobs we’ve been promised and have a negative return on investment. We know they’re a bad deal, and yet last week, the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization asked for $113 million in state and local tax incentives over 25 years to build an entertainment area called Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis. Our schools are underfunded. Our roads are crumbling. But taxpayers are supposed to cough up $113 million so one of the most successful major league baseball teams in the country can build a Ballpark Village that they said they would years ago without taxpayer subsidies when taxpayers gave them tens of millions to build their new stadium.”

“Lawmakers must stand up to the special interests that have hijacked the General Assembly and enact meaningful tax credit reform,” Sen. Crowell continued. “We’re doing long-term damage to the fiscal stability of our state. We’re digging ourselves into a hole we will struggle for decades to get out of. We need to address the elephant in the room. We need to start fixing what is clearly a broken tax credit system and a misalignment of our priorities.”

Stunning that Missouri continues to give away half-a-billion in tax dollars to cronies and pals.  To hell with education and to hell with the roads (although I have MAJOR problems with MoDot waste!), let’s save them historimacal buildings, pay for ballpark village, upgrade the Jones dome!

http://www.senate.mo.gov

 

 

 

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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Government Waste, Taxes

 

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The Cheney-Law

Failing KC and St. Louis schools, faux balanced budgets, MO DOT wasting millions, an SOS that won’t clear the dead from the voters roles, attack after attack on our freedoms by the MO Legislature / Federal Government…

…and our precious legislative session time is being used to argue the Cheney-Law… …about whether to let someone hunt after he accidentally kills one of his hunting mates?!?!

Focus people. Focus!

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri senators have endorsed legislation allowing the Conservation Commission to levy tougher penalties on hunters who accidentally kill someone.

The measure would let the commission impose a 10-year suspension of hunting privileges on anyone who accidently kills another person while hunting. Officials already can suspend hunting privileges for up to five years when someone is injured by a weapon in a hunting accident. Commissioners would decide whether to invoke the penalty.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Dempsey proposed the tougher penalty after the husband of a constituent was killed in a hunting accident.

Fellow Republican Sen. Jason Crowell objected. He pointed out that motorists are not barred from driving after hurting someone else in an accident.

Senator Crowell should object… …to the time that is being wasted on this measure when so many other issues are stunningly more pressing.  I’m sorry for the loss of Senator Dempsey’s constituent, but let’s not run around making new laws after every tragedy.  Accidents will happen!  They are, by definition, accidents.

We cannot legislate common sense or eternal life.

 

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Miscellaneous

 

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Missouri Bureaucracy To Increase Taxes On Farmers

Below, Senator Crowell brings to light yet another fiefdom in the Missouri Bureaucracy…

— The Keep-It-Complex-Stupid Tax Commission.  —

…’Eight Categories based on Land Quality blah blah blah’ and ‘Valuation Increase from $985 an Acre to $1,065 an Acre yada yada yada’.

So, just how many people does it take in this tax bureaucracy to track eight categories of land quality and valuation changes per acre?  How about we fire them from the government and hire them into the ‘real’ economy?

The Founders enacted a system by which taxation is distributed equally among the people.  THREE times the Founder’s asserted that taxation be distributed equally among the people.

The Constitution’s references to taxation:

Article I, Section 2, Clause 3:

Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers…

Article I, Section 8, Clause 1:

The Congress shall have power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises…but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States…

Article I, Section 9, Clause 4:

No Capitation, or other direct, Tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the Census or Enumeration herein before directed to be taken.

We suspect they felt that method of taxation was best for the States as well, and Missouri needs to follow the Founders’ lead.  The answer is a consumption tax and a Free Market system… …not a bunch of games with a taxpayer funded Missouri State Tax Commission.

Senator Crowell’s Capitol Report:

Attention Southeast Missouri Farmers

What Do YOU Think?

Agriculture is Missouri’s No. 1 industry and the backbone of our state economy. We rank second in the country for number of farms, and agricultural goods are one of our main exports. How Missouri’s farms fare is often tied, or even attributable, to how our state fares.

Agriculture is more than simply an industry in Missouri, though; it’s a way of life, a core part of our state identity.  Families have been farming Southeast Missouri for almost 300 years, and it is my hope they will be given that opportunity for centuries to come.

It is important we foster and protect agriculture in Missouri.  Farming is a volatile business, and farmers are at the mercy of the weather, a constantly shifting market and overhead costs that are rising.

Now, with a decision by the State Tax Commission, they’re facing a tax reassessment.  The State Tax Commission voted in December 2011 to raise assessment values on the most productive farms in Missouri by approving new productivity values, the evaluation of a land’s potential earnings.  Productivity values are used to calculate a farm’s property taxes, so any increase results in higher property taxes for those farmers.

Missouri farmland is split into eight categories based on land quality.  The best quality is grade one, with the worst being grade eight.  The Commission’s decision would increase productivity values on farmland grades one through four by 8 percent, or an average of 18 cents per acre.  A property that produces the most dependable crop yields would see its valuation raise from $985 an acre to $1,065 an acre.

I need you to seriously consider if this is the time to make this type of change.  What do you think?  The economy is still unstable, and production costs have steadily risen in recent years.  Farms all over Missouri continue to struggle.  Last year was particularly devastating, as severe weather flooded farmlands in parts of the state and excessive heat led to rampant drought in others.  More than 100 counties were declared disaster areas.

However, the last time the productivity values on farms were raised was 1995.  And non-farm related property taxes have raised dramatically during the same time period.  There may be a legitimate argument for adjusting these values, considering the commission evaluates them every two years but has not increased the values in 17 years.  In that time, the overall Missouri Net Farm Income has nearly doubled.  And, this value increase will only affect higher-quality land, farms that should, in theory, be doing better than others.

Two years ago the commission sought to increase the productivity values by 29 percent.  I filed a Senate Concurrent Resolution to prevent this from happening, which successfully passed, blocking the increase.  This year, Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, has filed Senate Concurrent Resolution 19, a similar measure that would stop the commission from raising the values this year, 2012.  If the Senate is to block the commission’s decision, though, we must act quickly.  The Legislature must pass the resolution within 60 days to block reassessment.

I am asking for your thoughts on this issue.  It can be easy to get caught up in the swell of data and statistics surrounding an issue, so your opinions mean the most to me; I look forward to hearing from you.

Contact Me

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns.  Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459.  You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO  65101, or email me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

Certainly, we don’t want to raise taxes at a time when Missouri’s economy is so fragile, so Senator Crowell and the Missouri Tax Commission should hear a resounding, ‘NO!’

But, let’s also ask Senator Crowell and his fellow legislators to fight at the root of the problem.  Stand up and stop the tax gimmicks.  Rid us of the corrupt Income and Property Tax system in favor of a tax on consumption… …equally distributed among the people.

THAT is social justice.

Then, we won’t need someone sitting in some cubicle calculating categories and productivity values.  If the land is good, it will grow more; it will sell more; it will be taxed more.

If you need a better reason to vote for the Missouri Taxpayer Releief Act, you won’t find one.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Free Market, Taxes

 

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Jason Crowell: Senate Passes a Taxpayer First Jobs Package

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov)

Attention Shifts to See What the House Does

h/t www.unfaircompetitiontradesecretscounsel.com

Over the past few weeks, I have shared with you how Missouri had the opportunity to make September’s Extraordinary Session a “Taxpayer and Missouri Jobs First” Special Session.  And because you demanded the right legislation be passed, the Senate listened and passed a bill that put job creation and the Missouri taxpayer first.  Your calls and emails led to the Senate scrapping the special interest first plan and passing Wednesday a jobs bill that begins making government live within its means and ties incentives directly to jobs created.

In the past, the state has subsidized activity because of promised jobs.  The special interests worked hard lobbying and giving to campaigns and convinced legislators that their tax credits would create jobs and enhance economic development.  This influence led to politicians giving out hundreds of millions of your hard-earned tax dollars to Low Income Housing tax credits, Historic Preservation tax credits and Land Assemblage tax credits.  However, while the awarding of tax credits increased over the last 13 years by 430.8 percent, equaling $545 million in 2011, the promised jobs have never been created.

That is because subsidized activity not tied to job creation fails to create jobs.  All those tax credits did was line the pockets of wealthy developers who, with the help of the politicians, conned the Missouri taxpayer.  It is clear that instead of job growth, Missouri’s return on investment was 21 cents for every dollar spent on Historic Preservation tax credits and 11 cents for every dollar spent on Low Income Housing tax credits.  “Give me a dollar and I will give you 21 cents or 11 cents back.”  You would never do that with your own money, and you should not allow the politicians to do such with your tax dollars.

Yet this has been the state’s economic plan, and it almost passed again.  For example, when redeveloping Schultz School Senior Housing in Cape Girardeau, we were told that if we subsidized the project, jobs would come and economic development would occur.  However, after spending $373,000 an apartment unit in Low Income Housing and Historic Preservation tax credits, permanent jobs did not.  Giving $16.7 million of your tax dollars to rehab 45 units for 11 – 21 cents on the dollar return is outrageous.  Over the course of the last two weeks there was an awakening that occurred with State Senators; they listened to your demands for responsible use of your hard earned tax dollars.  “We must tie incentives to job creation, not activities that may or may not create jobs.”

The removal of $300 million in Aerotropolis warehouse tax credits from the special session is acknowledgement of this key principle.  It is wrong, with our country facing massive manufacturing job losses to China, to make the central component of a “Made in Missouri” jobs plan the subsidization of the importation of China-made goods.  The battle now goes to the House where House leaders, who put their campaign accounts above Missourians, have said we must give $300 million to China importation warehouses. [Emphasis Added]

The bill that passed the Senate, which House leaders oppose, also included real tax credit reforms saving taxpayers $947 million over 15 years.  It caps and sunsets both the Historic Preservation tax credit and Low Income Housing tax credit.  The reforms also include clawbacks for failing to create jobs.  We have the ability to recapture any tax credits given out for noncompliance with the requirements, which specifically include creating the new jobs promised.  We have succeeded in the Senate, and with your continued support and help, we can win the House and beat back the special interests and developers House leaders covet.

Your humble blogger agrees that there has been great success, but yet, there still lurks great danger.  Buried in the verbiage of the Senate passed bill is language that describes how areas can be ‘blighted’ for their ‘potential’ to produce green energy.  Read here.

I implore you to continue to contact your Missouri Representatives asking them to kill this bill and start fresh with a bill to truly reform Missouri’s Tax Credit process… …with out the Green Energy / Agenda 21 Trojan Horse.

h/t senate.mo.gov

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns.  Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459.  You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO  65101, or e-mail me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2011 in Free Market, Government Waste, Taxes

 

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Senator Crowell: On The Missouri State Budget (Part 3)

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov):

(Read Part 1 here)

(Read Part 2 here)

Missouri’s State Budget

We must Stop Balancing the Budget on the

Backs of our Children through Education Cuts

As part of our look into Missouri’s current budget situation, we previously examined where we are, where we are headed and some of the factors that have put us in this situation. In my opinion, the politicians have failed to act and instead pushed Missouri’s budget deficit off to the future. Because of the situation Missouri is in, now is the time for leaders to enact real reforms that will make sure the spending of your tax dollars are in line with our values.

One area where Missouri can reform is in the process of awarding a large number of tax credits at the cost of cuts to education. Politicians always say education is their number one priority, yet their actions show a different truth. They continue to show tax credits are their number one priority by continuing to increase the amount of tax credits given out by 407.9% over the last 12 years. A tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in tax liability that would otherwise be due to the state. This means that every dollar that is given away in a tax credit is a dollar that our state government must replace by increasing taxes or making cuts in current programs; and taking more of your hard earned money is not an option.

The state offers many tax credits for a diverse list of causes, including historic preservation, low-income housing, livestock breeding, and business development. But the popularity of tax credits can often be traced to the pockets of big businesses and special interests. These special interests are well represented by lobbyists in the halls of the Capitol who convince legislators that special interest tax credits create jobs or enhance economic development when all they really do is line the pockets of their beneficiaries.

One of the biggest offenders of using Missouri’s scarce resources are the developers receiving the Low Income Housing Tax Credits. This program provides federal and state tax credits to investors where, each year for 10 years, these tax credits can be sold to raise equity to construct or acquire and rehabilitate affordable rental housing. Low Incoming Housing Tax Credits though, are, as a 2008 report by the Missouri Auditor called it, “costly” and “inefficient.” The audit showed that only 35 cents for every dollar in tax credits go to development costs while the remaining 65 cents go to investor needs. The same auditor’s report also criticized the selection process of not documenting how projects are selected; suggesting that political influence impacts the selection of Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

I believe it is this political influence that made Missouri # 2 in the nation in 2009 for Low Income Housing Tax Credits ($106 million) and #1 in the nation for Historic Preservation Tax Credits ($186 million). At the same time, the U.S. Census Bureau reports Missouri is 45th in per capita funding of higher education and 32nd in per capita funding for K-12. I believe this spending is backwards and does not represent our priorities.

In Missouri, the method by which we set Missouri’s priorities in spending your tax dollars is in the appropriation process. Through this process, we ask each of the state’s expenses to stand in line before your representatives in the General Assembly; requiring them to demonstrate why, with limited resources, they should be funded over others. The problem with Missouri’s current tax credit system is the politically connected who receive tax credits, cut to the front of the line, receiving their $521 million in 2010 first, without ever coming before your elected representatives. Then, after waiting in line, when education finally reached the front of the line, the politicians had to tell teachers and students, sorry, we don’t have the money to fund our educational needs and underfunded K-12 funding by $23.8 million.

This is why as part of protecting educational opportunities; we must incorporate fundamental reform to Missouri’s tax credit system. My plan is to subject tax credits to the appropriations process. This way, instead of playing favorites by being able to cut ahead of the line, tax credits will be made to stand in line like every other state expenditure. In this process, your elected representatives will have the chance to look at all the things we spend your tax dollars on and prioritize accordingly. It also creates a transparent process for developers to be held accountable for a return on investment for receiving your hard earned tax dollars.

I believe we need to reform tax credits, not spend more on them through the creation of new ones. But sadly, House leaders disagree. In next week’s column, I will share with you the coming battle to protect our children’s future educational opportunities versus giving away your hard earned tax dollars in tax credits to politicians’ campaign contributors.

Another great place to start is in the waste at MODot.  It’s a stunning waste of money to put up signs telling me that they are widening the road on I-55 between Barnhart and Festus (and other places throughout the state) when it’s obvious that they are working on the road.

It takes just 8 of those signs to wipe out the entirety of my yearly Income Tax contributions to the state coffers.  How many ‘citizen years’ do you think MODot wastes on the fancy new digital signs that are now lining the Interstates and tributaries… …that generally say, “Buckle Your Seat Belts”

And, these are just the most blatant and obvious wastes in the department.

Each expenditure throughout all state departments must be gauged on how many citizens must work all year long to pay for the item with their sales and income taxes!

That is the appropriations process we need!

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO 65101, or e-mail me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

h/t senate.mo.gov

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2011 in Balanced Budget, Conservative, Taxes

 

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Senator Crowell: On The Missouri State Budget (Part 2)

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov):

(Read Part 1 here)

Missouri’s State Budget

We must Stop Balancing the Budget on the

Backs of our Children through Education Cuts

As part of our look into Missouri’s current budget situation, we previously examined where we are, where we are headed and some of the factors that have put us in this situation. In my opinion, the politicians have failed to act and instead pushed Missouri’s budget deficit off to the future. The past two annual budgets have been built on hundreds of millions of one-time federal stabilization and stimulus dollars, which are now gone. And while maintaining inflated state spending levels using these one-time federal bailout dollars, the state still spent more than it had.

In 2009, Missouri saw a revenue decline of -6.9% ($585 million) followed with another revenue decline in 2010 of -9.1% ($676 million). And while this past year, 2011, there was a modest gain of 5.93% ($401.9 million) from 2010, we are still $827.7 million below the 2008 high-water mark in revenues.

With these revenue declines as a warning, the state took limited steps to right size government to match revenues. In the past two sessions, the General Assembly:

  • Passed reforms to the pension plans covering Missouri’s state employees and judges. Through the establishment of a new benefit tier for state employees and judges hired on or after January 1, 2011, pension reform legislation brought these Missouri pension plans into line with current economic realities and changes in the demographics of state employees. These reforms will save taxpayers more than $650 million over the next 10 years.
  • Ended the free printing of State Manuals, known as the Blue Book, and stopped providing judges and General Assembly member’s free volumes of Missouri State Statutes saving taxpayers $1.7 million every two years.
  • Merged Missouri’s Water Patrol and Highway Patrol into one law enforcement agency. With one law enforcement agency, taxpayer dollars were used more efficiently by deleting redundant systems and minimizing equipment and buildings being duplicated by both agencies, saving taxpayers an estimated $900,000 a year.

But those limited steps were not and are not enough. Even combined with $2.851 billion in one-time Federal Stabilization funds from 2009 to 2012 and another $1.861 billion in Federal Stimulus funds, Missouri did not fully fund the foundation formula for K-12 education by $23 million in 2009, another $74 million in 2011, and another $177 million in 2012. In total, K-12 education has not received $274 million it should have, according to the state foundation formula, in the last three years as well as over $60 million in cuts to transportation funding. Furthermore, Missouri’s funding for higher education is also being cut. In 2011, funding decreased by 10% followed by another 7% in 2012, totaling $186.5 million. This means Missouri’s universities and community colleges will have to find ways, most likely through tuition and fee increases, to cover an overall reduction in higher education funding of $306.8 million from the high-water mark of 2010. The politicians have said to you that education is their number one priority, but they have done very little in Jefferson City to prove it.

Get this… …the Missouri Legislature has run a deficit balanced the budget over the 4 years based on Federal funds.  In other words, the budget was not balanced based on Missouri’s tax and spending.  This is the same line that Republicans and Democrats tell you when they say they balanced the budget in 2000-2001.

I believe we should not be asking our children to sacrifice their educational opportunities because Missouri government cannot find ways to spend your hard earned tax dollars more efficiently and effectively. The past three years have been a perfect opportunity for leaders to take bold actions in government spending that would have protected education from these cuts. Instead, the politicians in Jefferson City failed because they have been more focused on their next election and their campaign contributors than with the realities of today.

As we continue to discuss Missouri’s budget, I do not just want to point to missed opportunities. I also want to highlight future opportunities to make real reforms so that educational opportunities to our children can be protected. In the coming weeks, I will share with you commonsense reforms that will put Missouri’s spending in line with our values. The answer is not found in raising taxes, or going into debt through bonding or even using the state’s rainy day fund. The answer is found by taking an honest approach to our priorities in how your money is spent and by passing legislative reforms that do not put special interests before our children’s educational opportunities. Now is the time for leaders to lead so that our children’s future does not continue to suffer the cost of our state’s backward spending priorities.

Although I think there is plenty of room to reduce bureaucracy and spending in Missouri’s Education System, I look forward to Senator Crowell’s future thoughts on the way to balance the budget without reducing education spending!

As always, I appreciate hearing your comments, opinions, and concerns. Please feel free to contact me in Jefferson City at (573) 751-2459. You may write to me at Jason Crowell; Missouri Senate; State Capitol; Jefferson City, MO 65101, or e-mail me at: jcrowell@senate.mo.gov or visit me on the web at http://www.senate.mo.gov/crowell.

h/t senate.mo.gov

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2011 in Balanced Budget, Conservative, Taxes

 

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Senator Crowell: On The Missouri State Budget

By Missouri State Senator Jason Crowell (jcrowell@senate.mo.gov):

Missouri’s State Budget

We must Stop Balancing the Budget on the

Backs of our Children through Education Cuts

As headline after headline in the news is dominated with stories on government’s excessive spending and its rising deficits, I, like many across Missouri am concerned with Missouri’s long-term financial well being.  The question becomes, do we want to make the decisions now to fix the problem or ignore it and be destroyed by it in the future.

I believe our current budget situation has developed in large part because the politicians in Jefferson City have forgotten that they won an election to lead today by making decisions but instead have chose to focus on their next election by catering to special interests and campaign contributors.  The past few years gave plenty of warning that it was time for the state to live within its means.  In 2009, Missouri saw a revenue decline of -6.9% ($585 million) followed with another revenue decline in 2010 of -9.1% ($676 million).  And through May 2011 state revenue has grown only 2.6%.  The problem with this growth is that when spending your money, the General Assembly spent expecting 3.6% growth or $70 million more than they really had.

As revenues have dropped, the politicians have failed to lead and make the decisions to balance Missouri’s budget, instead, opting to push the looming budget deficit off to the future.  The past two years the General Assembly has passed budgets built on hundreds of millions of one-time federal stabilization and stimulus dollars, which are now gone.  And while maintaining inflated state spending levels using one-time federal bailout dollars, the state still spent more than it had because revenues decreased below estimates.  By spending more money than it had, the budget has been out of balance forcing Governor Nixon to withhold dollars from vital state programs, specifically from education.

So, even though history gave politicians a clear indication of what was to come, the General Assembly again this year decided to put off decision making.  This year, the General Assembly passed a $23.2 billion budget which includes $400 million in one-time federal stabilization funds.  The budget also assumes that state revenues will grow at 4% next year, which is $70 million more than Missouri’s revenues have historically grown.  If Missouri does not exceed its historical pattern of growth, the Governor will at the very least have to withhold or veto $154 million just to balance the out of balance budget politicians gave him.

The out of balance budget became real two weeks ago when Governor Nixon was forced to withhold and veto $57 million from what the General Assembly appropriated.  Unfortunately, because the General Assembly failed to address Missouri’s budget shortfalls this year, the Governor chose to balance the budget through cuts and withholds to education.  Because politicians failed to act, Missouri students will face steeper tuition and fees for higher education.  K-12 schools, which are already facing budget short falls because politicians did not fully fund the foundation formula, also will now have to cut classroom dollars to transport students to and from school.

Missouri’s day of reckoning will come when the General Assembly works to pass next year’s budget.  This year’s budget used $155 million from last year to spend in this year and will not be available next year.  And based on recent history, Senate Appropriations expects mandatory expenses to increase approximately $200 million for the next year’s budget.  These factors combine to create a forecasted budget gap next year of approximately $755 million.

Liberals in the state and even some Republicans believe we have a “revenue crisis” and as Representative Mary Still (D-Columbia) laid out in a recent op-ed in the Columbia Tribune, their solution is to raise cigarette, internet sales, business, and personal taxes.  Calling for tax increases is wrong.  The problem is not that Missouri’s politicians do not have enough of your money to spend; the problem is they have lacked the courage to prioritize where to use your limited resources and cut spending in other areas, like curbing the redistribution of wealth through state authorized tax credits.

Over the next few weeks I will share with you how we got to this point and then present the opportunities leaders in Jefferson City have to reform government so that it lives within its means.  We shouldn’t and don’t have to raise taxes; we shouldn’t and don’t have to go into debt and bond; and we shouldn’t and don’t have to tap the state’s rainy day fund.  Now is the time for true leaders to take a long look at where we are, where we are headed, and what must be done to ensure that your tax dollars are used effectively and efficiently.  If politicians are serious about putting education first, this series will lay out what we still need to do to protect our children’s future.

Missouri, 49 other states, and the Federal Government must stop budgeting based on these pie-in-the-sky growth assumptions. A budget built on conservative estimates will breed greater citizen satisfaction and reduce the number of times our Representatives must anger their constituents when cutting back to revenue reality.

Senator Jason Crowell represents the 27th District of Missouri covering all (or portions) of Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison, Mississippi, Perry and Scott counties.

h/t senate.mo.gov

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2011 in Balanced Budget, Conservative, Taxes

 

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