Greitens' State of the State address: "Boldest state tax reform in America"

2 years 6 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, January 10 2018 Jan 10, 2018 Wednesday, January 10, 2018 7:18:00 PM CST January 10, 2018 in News
By: Lydia Nusbaum, KOMU 8 Reporter and The Associated Press

JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Eric Greitens focused his State of the State speech on cutting taxes and decreasing regulations.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is promising to deliver "the boldest state tax reform in America."

During his State of the State address Wednesday night, Greitens pledged to lay out a "detailed, thoughtful and thorough plan to cut taxes" early next week. The Republican governor says he wants lower taxes both for people and businesses. But he didn't reveal any further specifics. This is the first time Greitens has promised a specific plan meant to cut taxes.

The call to cut taxes comes as Missouri already is implementing the first phase of a state income tax cut passed several years ago. It also comes as a new federal income tax cut is expected to further reduce Missouri revenues.

Missouri recently cut its projected revenue growth in half for the current year, and is forecasting only modest growth for the next budget year.

Gov. Eric Greitens' pledge for a bold tax cut is drawing a mixed reaction among Missourilawmakers who will be crafting the state budget.

During his State of the State address Wednesday night, the Republican governor promised to unveil a plan next week that he said would be "the boldest state tax reform in America."

Republican House Speaker Todd Richardson said the House "has a strong desire to work on tax reform."

Rep. Sara Walsh, R-Ashland, is on the budget committee and said putting money into people's pockets allows them to spend it on exactly what they need.

"So when you get 50 dollars more or a hundred dollars more, I mean that's a trip to the grocery store. That's a utility bill. That's in some cases a car payment or part of a car payment," Walsh said.

But Rep. Justin Alferman, the Republican vice chairman of the House budget committee, said he was surprised by how aggressive of a tax cut the governor appears to be seeking.

Democratic Sen. Jill Schupp said she is concerned that the state can't afford it.

Missouri recently reduced its revenue projections for the current year.

House Democratic Leader Gail McCann Beatty says she's "disheartened" that Republican Gov. Eric Greitens didn't address racial issues in his State of the State address.

McCann Beatty after the Wednesday speech said it's unfortunate that Greitens didn't address concerns of protesters in St. Louis. Protesters took to the streets after a white former police officer was acquitted in the shooting death of a black suspect.

McCann Beatty also noted that Greitens did not mention backlash to a law he signed last year that made it harder to sue for discrimination. The Missouri NAACP cited the new law in a travel advisory the organization issued against the state.

Missouri Democrats say Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has failed to follow through on his campaign pledge to clean up state government.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty delivered the Democratic response Wednesday night to Greitens' State of the State address.

She said Greitens' administration "has been stained by ethical failings, disdain for the law and a complete lack of transparency" during his first year in office. She noted, among other things, that Greitens benefits from a "dark money" committee that doesn't have to reveal its donors.

Greitens called on lawmakers to ban lobbyist gifts.

But some senators have been reluctant to do so without also shedding more light on his secret donations.

Gov. Eric Greitens is touting his efforts to shrink the size of state government in both large and small ways.

During his State of the State address Wednesday night, Greitens said his administration was removing one out of every three regulatory requirements in Missouri.

He also touted the sale of four state airplanes and 30 cars to save several hundred thousand dollars. And he said he would save about $3,600 in printing costs by instead putting the state budget online.

Despite such cost saving measures, Missouri's total state budget has continued to grow to more than $27 billion in the current year.

Unlike previous governors, Greitens did not detail his budget proposal during the State of the State address. He says that will come later.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is challenging lawmakers to say "no" to lobbyist gifts as part of an effort to clean up the state capitol.

Greitens used his second State of the State address Wednesday to repeat one of the themes from his first speech. But the Republican governor added a new twist to his call for a law banning lobbyist gifts, urging lawmakers in the meantime to simply refuse to accept them.

Earlier Wednesday, the House gave initial approval to legislation limiting lobbyist gifts. A similar bill passed the House last year but died in the Senate.

Some senators have been reluctant to pass the bill without attaching provisions shedding light on secret "dark money" donations, such as those that have flowed to a committee created to promote Greitens' agenda.

Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens is set to give his second State of the State speech.

Greitens will address the Republican-led Legislature Wednesday night at the Capitol to lay out priorities. He'll release his budget proposal later.

The first-time elected official has previously said he wants to enact tax changes, help veterans and improve the state's foster care and adoption programs.

Greitens has clashed with lawmakers in the past, even those from his own party. While he signed major GOP priorities last year including a right-to-work law, he had a sometimes rocky relationship with lawmakers and was publicly critical of them.

Republican legislative leaders say they'll still work with him, although he's already frustrated some by replacing State Board of Education appointees in an attempt to oust the education commissioner.

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