Shaping Policies. Creating Opportunities.


New Census Data Underscores Need for Missouri Earned Income Tax Credit

Statement from Amy Blouin, Missouri Budget Project Executive Director

More than one in five Missouri kids are growing up in families that can’t afford the basics necessary for a good start to life because they make so little. Although poverty slightly declined since the previous year, more Missourians are struggling than before the recession. The still high number of people struggling economically is holding back our state’s economy and hampering our kids’ futures.

According to recently released Census data, tax credits for working families – such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – prevented 9.2 million people, including 4.8 million children, from falling into poverty in the United States. In fact, refundable tax credits (such as the EITC) had the second largest impact on lifting families out of poverty of any of the safety net programs– second only to Social Security in its effectiveness.

Fortunately, in 2017 Missouri legislators can build on this track record of success nationally by passing a state Earned Income Tax Credit. A state EITC would open the doors of opportunity for more than 500,000 Missouri families.  In addition, a state EITC that furthers the success of the national credit would boost local economies, encourage work, and improve the lives of Missouri’s children and future workforce.

Mirroring national trends, U.S. Census Bureau Estimates released today show that median income in Missouri has increased and poverty has declined since 2014. However, more than one in ten families – over 875,000 Missourians, including more than one in five children – still struggle to meet their basic needs in our state. Despite recent gains, rates of poverty remain significantly higher than before the recession. The rate of poverty among Missourians is currently 14.8%, compared to 11.2% in 2000.

Last year, a proposal to pass a state Earned Income Tax credit overwhelming passed the Missouri House, but was never voted on in the state Senate.  With so many Missourians still struggling to make ends meet, now is the time to enact a Missouri Earned Income Tax Credit and help families get on the road to stability.

Percent of Missourians Living in Poverty: 2009-2015

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
United States 14.3% 15.3% 15.9% 15.9% 15.8% 15.5% 14.7%
Missouri 14.6% 15.3% 15.8% 16.2% 15.9% 15.5% 14.8%


Percent of Children Living in Poverty: 2009-2015

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
United States 20.0% 21.6% 22.5% 22.6% 22.2% 21.7% 20.7%
Missouri 20.7% 20.9% 22.1% 22.6% 22.2% 21.1% 20.2%


Percent of Families Living in Poverty: 2009-2015

2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
United States 10.5% 11.3% 11.7% 11.8% 11.6% 11.3% 10.6%
Missouri 10.7% 10.6% 11.5% 11.7% 11.5% 10.7% 10.2%

MBP Statement: Missouri Uninsured Rate High Compared with Other States – Medicaid Expansion Would Help

Statement from Amy Blouin, Missouri Budget Project Executive Director

New census data indicate that hundreds of thousands of Missourians still can’t get the health care they need to be healthy, productive members of their communities. About one in every ten, or 583,000 Missourians, was uninsured at the time of the American Community Survey – a number that would have been significantly reduced had Missouri expanded Medicaid as provided through the Affordable Care Act. Our state can still expand Medicaid in the next legislative session and benefit from the many ways Medicaid makes people’s lives better while saving the state money and boosting the economy.

While Missouri’s uninsured rate has declined along with the rest of the nation, the uninsured rate is significantly higher in states that have not expanded Medicaid (12.3%), as compared to states that did (7.2%). In addition, for those living in poverty or near the poverty level, the rate of decline in the number of uninsured was significantly lower in non-Expansion states as compared to Expansion states.

Notably, while Missouri historically has had an uninsured rate consistently below the national average, by failing to expand Medicaid, it is now above the national average. Missourians are struggling, and our state is losing out.

Medicaid expansion would reduce uncompensated care, save state tax dollars, and create jobs. And hundreds of thousands of Missourians could access the health care they need to work, take care of their kids, and lead healthy, happy lives.


Study Commission on State Tax Policy Meetings

The Missouri Study Commission on State Tax Policy will be holding several public hearings over the next five months, including one Wednesday in Springfield.

The Commission is undertaking a comprehensive review of Missouri’s tax structure and identifying potential improvements. MBP’s Executive Director, Amy Blouin, serves on the Commission with state lawmakers and other citizens.

The public hearings offer an opportunity for individuals to share their insight regarding Missouri’s tax policies. If you are interested in testifying, please consider attending and testifying at one of the following upcoming meetings:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 – 1:00 p.m.

Springfield Chamber of Commerce – Bill Foster Room
202 S. John Q Hammons Parkway
Springfield, MO 65806

October 19 – 1:00 p.m.

Wainwright State Office Building
111 N 7th St.
St. Louis, MO 63101
Wainwright State Office Building Gallery

** Work groups will meet from 10 a.m. to noon in the Gallery and room 116. Full commission and public testimony starts at 1:00 p.m. in the Gallery.

November 15 – Kansas City – exact location and time TBD

MO May See Additional Budget Shortfalls in FYs 2017 & 2018

A stunning state revenue collapse in the final days of the last fiscal year (FY2016, which ended on June 30th) may continue to hamper Missouri’s ability to meet the educational, health, and other needs of Missourians.

Decreased revenue in the month of June prompted the Governor to restrict state spending for critical services including for early education, schools, programs for Missourians with disabilities and more.[1]

In addition, the poor growth postponed income tax cuts that were scheduled to begin phasing in during 2017. However, those cuts still loom over the horizon for 2018 and would cost the state revenue that could be used for schools, transportation, and other investments in a strong economy.

Moreover, additional budget shortfalls may again jeopardize services for Missourians this year, and create strains for next year. Pending tax cuts would aggravate the situation further.

  • Because of the FY 2016 general revenue shortfall, revenue needs to grow about 6.5 percent in the new budget year in order to fully fund the FY 2017 state budget approved by lawmakers. The amount of needed growth is far above the budgeted projection of 4.1 percent.
  • If state revenue grows at the lower, projected rate of 4.1 percent, Missouri will face a $216 million budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.
  • Should the legislature choose to override the Governor’s vetoes of further tax reductions passed in the 2016 legislative session, the budget will be further strained.
Relative to the Economy, FY 2016 GR Collections Among Lowest in 35 Years
GR as % of Personal Income, Fiscal Years 1981-2016

GR to Personal Income 1981- 2016Moreover, due to the drop in state revenue, Missouri ended the last budget year with general revenue tax collections among the lowest in 35 years, as a percent of personal income in the state – one measure of the economy.


Late FY 2016 Revenue Collapse 

Until late June of this year, Missouri’s revenue had been on track to meet the original projection of 2.8 percent growth for FY 2016. However, general revenue collections plummeted during the final ten days of June, resulting in just 0.9 percent growth compared to the previous year, well below the budgeted amount.[2]

During the last ten days of June, revenue collections were 50 percent lower than the same period in the previous year. Further, revenue for the entire month of June declined by 23 percent compared to the previous year. While revenue collections can fluctuate considerably over brief time periods, the drop was largely unexpected, and left the state about $169 million short of the amount that was projected and on which the budget was based. Governor Nixon responded to the decline in revenue by announcing $115.5 million in budget restrictions/withholding for FY 2017 on July 6th.

Further, the late June revenue collapse also left the state with a much smaller beginning balance of about $153 million at the start of the new budget year on July 1. Relative to the size of the budget, this is an extremely low amount.

The New Budget Outlook: Shortfalls Lurking

As a result of the FY 2016 general revenue shortfall, state revenue needs to grow about 6.5 percent in the new budget year, FY 2017, in order to fully fund the state budget that was approved by lawmakers. The amount of needed growth is far above the budgeted projection of 4.1 percent.

Assuming that revenue grows at the lower, original estimate, Missouri could face a $216 million shortfall for the new fiscal year. This shortfall would be worsened should the General Assembly choose to override any of the Governor’s vetoes of several tax cut bills that were passed during the 2016 legislative session.

Moreover, as income tax cuts that were approved in 2014 take effect, Missouri’s ability to fund education and other services Missourians rely on will be further impaired in fiscal year 2018.


Missouri Will Likely Face Significant Revenue Shortfalls in FY 2017 & FY 2018

General Revenue Summary FY 2013 – FY 2018, Amounts in Millions

FY 13 FY 14 FY 15 FY 16 FY 17 FY 18
Beginning Balance $64.1 $329.7 $18.3 $12.6 $0.0 ($215.8)
Previous Year Lapse $139.7 $117.2 $170.5 $265.0 $153.2 $150.0
Net GR Collections $8,082.6 $8,003.3 $8,709.2 $8,786.8 $9,151.0 $9,517.0
Tax Reductions $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 ($7.7) ($71.5)
Signed Tax Cuts from 2016 Session $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 ($7.7) ($21.5)
    SB 509 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 ($50.0)
Collection Additions $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $29.9 $30.0
Transfers to GR $184.8 $123.9 $123.7 $114.8 $77.0 $80.0
Total Resources Available $8,471.2 $8,574.1 $9,021.7 $9,179.2 $9,403.4 $9,489.7
Operating Appropriations $8,013.8 $8,276.7 $8,734.9 $8,854.8 $9,526.4 $9,410.9
Vetoes (includes CI) $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Expenditure Restrictions (includes CI) $0.0 ($53.0) ($66.9) ($46.1) ($115.5) $0.0
Higher Education $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
State Worker Pay Plan $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Medicaid $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
All Other “Normal” Growth $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $0.0
Re-Appropriations $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 $40.4 $37.5 $50.0
Lapse $0.0 $0.0 $0.0 ($87.7) $0.0 $0.0
Supplemental/Estimated Appropriations $57.7 $220.9 $135.4 $324.0 $50.3 $125.0
Capital Appropriations $70.0 $111.2 $205.7 $93.8 $120.5 $100.0
Total Obligations $8,141.5 $8,555.8 $9,009.1 $9,179.2 $9,619.2 $9,685.9
Ending Balance $329.7 $18.3 $12.6 $0.0 ($215.8) ($196.2)

[1] Office of Administration, Division of Budget & Planning


[2] Expenditure restrictions made by the Governor can be seen here:

New State Budget Makes Modest But Critical Improvements, Misses Big Opportunities

Missouri’s annual operating budget is more than a set of numbers. In its funding for education, health care, and other services that serve as a foundation for Missouri families and our economy to thrive, the budget reflects the priorities of our state.

Although lawmakers increased appropriations in many areas, our state continues to pass by opportunities to invest in the tools that strengthen our state.

  • Missouri increased its funding for K-12 education in next year’s budget. However, in response to ongoing shortfalls in K-12 education funding, lawmakers re-instituted a cap in the state’s education funding formula. The amount of state funding required for education under the cap will be more than $1,000 per student lower than what was required per student a decade ago, when adjusted for inflation.
  • Despite increased funding for higher education, the amount of state funding per full-time four year college student is lower than it was in 2007, in nominal terms (not adjusted for inflation).
  • Increased child care reimbursement rates put Missouri on a path to strengthen access to quality care and make child care more affordable for 20,000 low-income families throughout the state.
  • A healthy Missouri is a fundamental building block of a prosperous economy and a good quality of life. While lawmakers made strides to improve access to behavioral health services, the legislature failed to close the health care coverage gap, bypassing an opportunity to build a stronger, healthier, and more fiscally responsible Missouri.

Click here to access the full report

Click here for the Appendix comparing FY 2016 and FY 2017 funding



With your help, we’ve made big strides this year on two of our top legislative priorities to help Missourians makes ends meet and build a stronger Missouri.



Alleviating Poverty & Providing a Pathway to the Middle Class: The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

A state level EITC would give hundreds of thousands of hardworking Missouri families a much-needed boost to their income, helping them to make ends meet and build toward the middle class, while also stimulating local economies.

House Bill 1605 (sponsored by Representative Kelley) and Senate Bill 1018 (sponsored by Senator Schmitt) would have created a Missouri EITC, building on the benefits of the federal credit by providing a modest state tax credit to families with modest incomes. EITCs help families meet basic needs in the short-term, and increase educational attainment and health outcomes for families in the long run.

Support for a Missouri EITC grew considerably this year, with your help. An array of business and civic leaders joined with us in moving the issue, raising lawmaker awareness of the many benefits of a state EITC. As a result, the issue has attained strong, bipartisan support, and the bills advanced farther than ever before. The House approved House Bill 1605 by a vote of 115-35, a huge margin! Though the bills did not cross the finish line this year, the significant advancement of the issue coupled with diverse and growing public support, gives us lots of momentum for the next legislative session.

Investing in Missouri with Streamlined:

A proposal that would allow Missouri to begin to automatically collect sales tax that is due for retail purchases made through online stores was approved by the Senate Ways & Means Committee this year. This marks the first time that the issue has received a nod from a Senate Committee.

Senate Bill 795 (sponsored by Senator Wallingford) would close an existing loophole in Missouri’s tax code. Upon the passage of both the state and companion federal measure, Missouri would realize as much as $358 million per year in currently uncollected state and local sales tax. As a result, not only would the bill level the playing field for Missouri’s bricks and mortar retailers and their online competitors, it would allow the state to capture revenue that can be used to strengthen local schools, increase access to child care assistance, and invest in the health and mental health services that help families succeed.

The growing, bipartisan support for this measure also sets the stage nicely for the next legislative session.

Help us Keep the Momentum Going!

We’re not stopping here. To build on the support gained this year, we’ll be conducting outreach to generate even more supporters over the summer and fall. And we need your help to be successful!

Do you know a community organization, business or coalition that would add their support for these issues? Please share the following links with them so that they can join our efforts:

Streamlined Endorsement:

EITC Endorsement:

MBP is always happy to provide presentations at community groups or meetings on these (and other) issues. Click here to request a presentation.

Finally, please consider a financial contribution to the Missouri Budget Project. Your support will help us to keep sustain our outreach on these and other critical policy issues this summer and fall. Click here to make a donation, or mail a contribution to:

One Campbell Plaza

Suite 101, Building A, Center Entrance

St. Louis, MO 63139




Late April Revenue Slowdown May Be Cause for Concern

As of April 27th, General Revenue (GR) collections, (net of refunds) for the month of April had declined by about $219 million or by 18.3 percent, compared to April 27th of last year. This results in a net GR growth rate of 0.4 percent for FY 2016 overall. This growth rate is well below the 2.8 percent growth called for the latest Executive Budget.

While this may be a cause for concern, several factors may explain the decline:

  1. The decline is concentrated in the Individual Income as well as the Corporate Income tax. Sales and Use tax has grown a respectable 4.6 percent for the month thus far.
  2. The tax filing deadline was April 18th as opposed to April 15th in 2015.
  3. April of 2016 has 21 working days versus 22 working days in April of last year.

In a “normal” month, the above factors would have a substantial impact on intra-month revenue comparisons. The second half of April, however, is characterized by high volume revenue collections dates as final Individual and Corporate Income tax returns are delivered to and processed by the Department of Revenue. It is likely that over the next week or so, the administrative factors mentioned above will diminish in importance and that net GR collections will improve markedly. Nonetheless, the overall revenue situation should continue the subject of close scrutiny.


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MO House Vote Creates Momentum for State EITC

For Immediate Release

MO House Vote Creates Momentum for State EITC

Statement from Amy Blouin, Executive Director

 We hope that today’s vote by the Missouri House to create a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) provides the momentum needed for the full legislature to act so that by the next tax day, hundreds of thousands of Missourians benefit from this critical economic lifeline.

By providing a much needed break to Missourians struggling to get by on low wages, a state EITC can be a pathway to the middle class for hardworking Missouri families. The EITC is one of the best ways Missouri can help working families with modest incomes have the opportunity to build better lives and economic security. What’s more, a state EITC would boost local economies because it puts more money in the pockets of those likely to spend it at local businesses to buy groceries or other basics.

The benefits of an EITC are far-reaching, providing an immediate boost to families while serving as an investment in our future. Children whose families receive the credit are more likely to go to college and make more money as adults, establishing a strong workforce.

The Senate Ways and Means Committee has approved a similar proposal, and the full Senate should act quickly before the end of session to create a state EITC.