In 2014, Republican’s in the State legislature overrode the veto of the Democratic Governor and instituted tax cuts that have amounted to nearly an annual billion dollar loss in the State’s revenue:
The Missouri House acted quickly Tuesday to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a tax-cut bill that is estimated to cut the state’s revenue by about $620 million a year when fully implemented.
They were warned at the time that this tax cut would leave the State with structural deficits that would make it nearly impossible for the State to pay for things like needed repairs to infrastructure:
“State revenue needs to grow by around $250 million each year just to keep up with current services,” said the group’s executive director, Amy Blouin. “Moreover, because the trigger fails to account for already depleted services, recession-era cuts will become Missouri’s new normal. That will make it even harder for us to compete as other states invest in their infrastructure and education needs. SB 509’s triggers would have even allowed tax cuts to go into effect during the midst of the last recession.”
The Republicans ignored the warnings, instead falling back on the oft-repeated lie by supporters of Trickle Down Economics that tax cuts will end up increasing tax revenues, even though that has literally never happened:
“In this economy … I would normally be wary of a tax cut at this time, were it not for the fail-safes and triggers that require at least $150 million in revenue growth for these tax cuts to take effect,” said Jeff Grisamore, R-Lee’s Summit. “The goal of this bill is to put more money in the pocket(s) of individual taxpayers and small businesses that are the engine of our state economy, that create jobs, and provide increased revenues for our state.”
Two years later, tax cuts, as expected by anyone who has seen this movie before, did not increase tax revenues as promised by the Republicans. Instead, tax revenues came in much lower than forecast, and budget cuts had to be made:
Since the beginning of the fiscal year on July 1, Nixon has cut $201 million from the state’s spending blueprint in response to the lagging revenues and attempts by the GOP-controlled Legislature to provide tax incentives to various businesses.
Although sales and income taxes have been growing at a healthy rate, corporate taxes have fallen off dramatically. He said businesses are using accounting maneuvers to reduce their tax bills and warned the Legislature to be cautious in doling out tax incentives to businesses.
So, four years later, what has been the result for Missouri infrastructure? You can probably guess:
In the Association’s report, Missouri ranked fourth in the nation in the total number of structurally deficient bridges with more than 3,000 state, county and city bridges, which is about 13 percent of the state’s total.
Missouri lawmakers have struggled to find a way to pay for repairs along thousands of miles of highways and bridges, and it’s unclear if that might change in the near future.
“The people of Missouri have made it very clear they are pretty opposed to raising taxes,” said incoming House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, a Springfield Republican. “That’s the dilemma we face. Any sort of tax increase is just dead on arrival.”…
State Sen. Dave Schatz, a Republican from Franklin County, said the Senate passed a small gas tax boost during the 2016 session, but it never got any traction in the House. Any progress on transportation funding, he said, will have to start with House leadership. “We did the work by putting together an opportunity for the voters to make the investment in infrastructure,” he said. “That was sent to the House, and they didn’t take that bill up. Next year, the House is going to have to prove they are willing to make an investment in transportation funding.”