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Liberal Group Mulls Voter Override of Tax Cuts

Posted: May 21, 2014 9:28 PM by Brendan Cullerton, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: May 21, 2014 10:14 PM

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COLUMBIA - The Coalition for Missouri's Future told KOMU 8 News Wednesday it is considering using a voter referendum to override a series of tax cuts passed by Missouri's Republican-led legislature.

The tax cuts would cost the state a total of $620 million if not repealed. Pro-education groups estimate that could mean cuts of $223 million to state education funding.

"These tax cuts would dramatically reduce the amount of money we could spend on education in the state," Missouri School Board Association spokesperson Brent Ghan said. "We wonder why we can afford tax cuts like this one when we can't meet our state obligations to fund education as it is."

The tax cut would reduce the state's top income tax bracket from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over the course of five years, beginning in 2017. It would also allow a 25 percent business income tax deduction and raise the personal income tax exemption by $500 for taxpayers making less than $20,000. Supporters of the tax cuts say the government should better use the funds they already have, rather than repeal the cuts.

"I think lower income taxes are a good idea for everyday Americans, the blue collar," Missouri taxpayer Joshua Brinkley said. "If income taxes were lower, workers might be able to pay them once in a while, instead of getting half their paycheck taken away."

The group faces an uphill battle on using a referendum to repeal the already-passed cuts. It would need to corral signatures from five percent of six out of Missouri's eight Congressional districts. The Kansas City Star reported that would mean about 100,000 signatures over the course of 90 days. The last successful voter override of the Missouri General Assembly was in 1982.

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