As many of you know, the Missouri General Assembly began a special session on September 6th. The legislature convened under the impression that the majority party had taken the steps necessary to pass a bill that would spur job growth and help countless Missourians and their families. The actions, or rather inaction, of the past month have proven just the opposite.
Friction inside the majority party in both chambers has prevented the passage of any legislation that could create jobs. To add insult to injury, drawing out this special session is costing taxpayers thousands of dollars everyday that the general assembly is convened.
I hope this newsletter will provide you with information about the legislation and happenings of special session.
The main focus of this special session is an economic development bill. You may have heard it called "Aerotropolis" or "China Hub", but what does this legislation really do? SB 8 has its origins in the previous regular session, where it was known as SB 100. This legislation contained a combination of reduced tax credits and new tax credits with the intention of spurring job creation. The House passed its version of SB 100 prior to the end of session. The Senate, however, did not pass this version before the deadline, meaning that no part of the legislation could be enacted.
Since then, both the Senate and House have passed new versions of this bill that somewhat resemble the original version. The House passed a version of SB 8 on last Thursday that greatly deviates from the most recent Senate version.The House's bill eliminates sunsets on low income housing and historic preservation tax credits and decreases the corporate income tax. The House maintained the Senate reduction in tax credits for the St. Louis Airport project from $360 million to $60 million.
The fate of this jobs package is uncertain. The Senate convenes on October 17 to appoint senators to a joint conference committee that could negotiate a final bill. The House will also appoint representatives to this committee. Since the Senate insisted that this legislation include sunsets on the above stated tax credits, it is unlikely that the Senate will budge from this position during the conference committee. Under the Missouri Constitution, a special session can last no more that 60 days, meaning that the current session will automatically end on November 4, unless the legislature passes this legislation.
Corporate Income Tax Press RelaseHouse GOP passes $50 million income tax cut for corporations, $0 income tax cut for Missouri families
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - On a straight party-line vote, Missouri House Republicans voted to cut the state income tax rate for corporations from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. Working Missouri families, however, will continue to pay the full 6 percent rate under the Republican proposal.
"By granting wealthy corporations a tax cut while expecting working Missouri families to pay in full, House Republicans are engaging in class warfare," said House Minority Leader Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City. "Missourians expect everyone to pay their fair share. It is simply wrong to give a $50 million tax break to corporations while not providing a penny in tax relief to struggling families."
The House approved the corporate income tax cut on a vote of 95-51, with all Republicans in support and all Democrats opposed. The legislation was added as an amendment to a larger measure, Senate Bill 8.
Passed Special Session Legislation
While the legislature has been unable to reach an agreement on job creation legislation, two other bills were sent to Governor Nixon after being passed in both chambers. SB 1 would repeal previsions of a new state law enacted earlier this year that sought to prohibit teacher-student communications via text messaging and social networking sites. This legislation intended to prevent inappropriate communication between teachers and students. However, a Cole Country Circuit judge issued an injunction blocking the enforcement of the law on the grounds that it violated the free speech rights of teachers and students. Governor Nixon asked that the legislature consider this issue in special session. SB 1 is the result of that. SB 1 gives control over teacher-student communication to the schools, and asks the local school districts to adopt policies to govern this type of communication.
The other bill passed by the legislature is SB 7. SB 7 would establish the Missouri Science and Innovation Reinvestment Act (MOSIRA) to provide incentives for science and technology business to locate to the state. MOSIRA was part of SB 8 in the beginning of special session. However, the Senate separated this legislation into its own bill. Although both chambers have passed SB 7, the Senate inserted a clause that states SB 7 will not take effect unless SB 8 also passes. However, the legality of that clause is being called into question.
The Interim Continues
Although I have been spending time in Jefferson City for the special session, I still spend most of my time in Springfield during the interim. It has been a pleasure to attend community meetings and gatherings. The people of the Springfield community are always welcoming and willing to share thoughts, opinions and concerns with me. Time spent in the district is invaluable to me, and it has been an honor to connect and learn from so many during this interim. If anyone is having an event in the area, or would like to schedule time to meet with me at my district office, I would be honored to attend. As always, you may contact my Capitol office with any questions about social programs, licensing or other government issues.