House Bill 548 would make Missouri’s tax structure more unfair, shortchange education funding, and jeopardize the resources our communities need to prosper. Although certain provisions of the bill, would close an ongoing tax loophole, an analysis by the Missouri Budget Project shows it would cost Missouri $74 million in just the first full tax year of implementation. Debate in the Missouri House of Representatives would come as Missouri’s unpredictable general revenue status threatens to undermine budget projections.
“Instead of a bill like HB 548, with more special interest tax giveaways that Missouri can’t afford, Missourians need the legislature to enact a straightforward Wayfair Fix that would help stabilize the budget and level the playing field for local businesses without making our state’s revenue even more volatile,” said Amy Blouin, President & CEO of the Missouri Budget Project.
The House Committee Substitute for House Bill 548 (HB 548) would implement the components of the “Wayfair Fix,” allowing Missouri to collect sales taxes owed on online retail purchases just like the state does for purchases at local retailers. However, instead of shoring up Missouri’s unstable revenue, the bill would endanger public services by directing an additional tax cut to Missouri’s wealthiest.
“The income tax cut in HB 548 would make Missouri’s tax structure even more unfair,” said Blouin. “80% of Missourians would see $40 or less a year, and a full 60% would get $18 or less per year. But all Missourians would bear the consequences when our communities are starved of the services we all need to prosper. This revenue, which is already owed to our state, would be better spent in classrooms, as investments in workforce development or higher education, or increasing the safety of our roads and bridges.”
What’s more, HB 548 shortchanges pre-K to 12 education funding by diverting currently earmarked sales taxes for education, and limits the ability of cities and counties to collect taxes due for online retail purchases, even if those localities already have a “use tax.”
“As lawmakers craft a budget for the upcoming year, enacting the Wayfair Fix would allow them to work towards funding a budget to build strong schools, quality roads and bridges, and a safety net to help struggling families get back on their feet,” said Blouin. “It’s past time for Missouri to enact a straight-forward Wayfair Fix to stabilize the budget, level the playing field for Missouri businesses, and help our communities prosper, but HB 548 doesn’t do that.”
The Missouri Budget Project is nonprofit public policy organization that analyzes state budget, tax, health and economic issues.