Dear Member of the Missouri State Senate,
On behalf of National Taxpayers Union (NTU), the oldest taxpayer advocacy group in the United States, I write to express our strong support for Senate Joint Resolution 20. This proposed revision of the state constitution would protect taxpayers from large future tax increases by codifying a ceiling on its income tax rate. Passing this change would provide a check on state taxing authority and continue to show businesses and working families why Missouri remains a great place to live and work. As such, NTU urge all Senators to support this important taxpayer shield.
The legislature should be commended for passing a tax reform package last year that reaffirmed Missouri’s commitment to limited taxation and the protection of taxpayers. These reforms included matching the federal standard deduction, reducing the top marginal income tax rate, and gradually reducing the corporate income tax rate. NTU believes these positive developments will ensure every single resident, small business, and corporate entity will face a lower tax liability over the coming years. With your constituents having more money in their pockets at the end of each month, these changes will undoubtedly boost prosperity and commerce in every region across the Show-Me State.
However, as we’ve witnessed on numerous occasions in other states, just because taxes are low today doesn’t mean they will stay that way in the future. A shift in the political winds could usher in a new Governor or legislature that looks to place additional burdens on taxpayers to finance expensive new projects or programs. To prevent this scenario from becoming a reality, the Ways and Means Committee recently approved a constitutional change that would prohibit the income tax rate from rising beyond 5.9 percent. While Missouri currently imposes a lower income tax rate than the one proposed, it is nonetheless a shield against future attempts by politicians to increase taxes from where they are today.
In addition to being a sensible approach to limited taxation, maximum tax rate caps enjoy strong bipartisan support. In 2014, 75 percent of Georgia voters enshrined a tax cap into their constitution, and in 2018, 60 percent of North Carolina voters lowered their tax rate cap. Now, Missouri has the opportunity to become the next state with a similar constitutionally protected provision. While we commend the Senate for the cap, a 5.9 percent rate should be seen as a step in the right direction, not the end result. To that end, we continue to urge lawmakers to work towards a lower rate cap.
It is our hope lawmakers will continue on the path of reducing tax burdens for all Missouri residents by passing this constitutional provision. We believe taxpayers would strongly benefit from SJR 20 and hope you will support its passage when the time comes.
Policy and Government Affairs Associate