Special committee on earnings taxes expanding focus on Missouri property taxes

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(The Center Square) – The scope of a special committee’s focus will expand from earnings taxes to personal property taxes at the request of Speaker Dean Plocher, R-St. Louis.

“In our society, we must acknowledge that the reduction of tax burdens and the lowering of personal property taxes extend beyond economic policy; they reflect our dedication to individual liberty and economic empowerment,” Plocher said in a statement announcing the change.

Plocher appointed Rep. Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis, in August to lead a bipartisan committee in examining the earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City. Salaries, wages, tips, commissions and other compensation paid to a person living or working in St. Louis or Kansas City pay 1% of earnings to the municipalities. Approximately 36% of St. Louis’ tax revenue comes from the earnings tax.

“Lower taxes transcend mere financial calculations; they epitomize the principles of self-determination and the pursuit of prosperity,” Plocher said. “Our constituents are the best stewards of their money, and I trust this committee to rigorously assess our personal property tax policies and make recommendations to ensure equitable tax contributions for all.”

Murphy held the first of three committee hearings on the earnings tax earlier this month. At the end of the hearing, he announced plans to hold a committee hearing in Kansas City and St. Louis. He also said he planned to complete the special committee’s work by the end of October.

Senate Bill 190, which eliminates state income tax on Social Security benefits, was passed by the legislature and signed into law earlier this year. The law also gives Missouri’s 114 counties the ability to freeze property taxes for residents age 65 and older by approving an ordinance or having voters approve it.

Last year, Republican Gov. Mike Parson called a special session to cut the state income tax. It was lowered from 5.3% to 4.9% – amounting to approximately $760 million – and could go as low as 4.5% if tax revenues remain at high levels.

“By relieving our citizens of undue tax burdens, we unlock their potential to innovate, invest, and foster opportunities for themselves and their communities,” Plocher said. “It is time to enable our people to retain more of their earnings, as doing so will lead to a more robust, dynamic, and resilient Missouri for all its residents.”

Republicans in both chambers also have expressed an interest in abolishing the corporate income tax throughout the years. Democrat caucuses have focused on funding education, social services and pointing out economic disparities.

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