JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The House is one step close to giving Missourians a tax credit, but not everyone who pays taxes would receive the rebate.
Just days after the tax filing deadline, representatives are working on a plan to use $1 billion of the state’s surplus for tax rebates. Out of the 3.2 million Missourians who file taxes, around 30% won’t receive the credit.
“We want to make sure we’re getting it to the people who are playing rock, paper, scissors right now to see if they’re going to pay their gas bill or their light bill,” said Rep. LaKeySha Bosley (D-St. Louis).
Earlier this month, the House approved a $46.5 billion budget but left $1.8 billion on the table unspent. House Republicans want to use that surplus for this rebate, something they call a priority.
“It’s a pretty simple concept,” said Rep. Cody Smith (R-Carthage). “We’re giving that back to the people who paid it into the state treasury.”
Under House Bill 3021, a single person would receive $500 and married couples would get a $1,000 credit. It would be based on your income tax bill from last year, as long as you lived in Missouri.
“I urge the body to reject this motion so that we can pay proper respect to the most important thing we do in this building is to spend taxpayer money,” said Rep. Tracy McCreery (D-St. Louis).
Democrats stressed their frustration Wednesday of rules being suspended in order to move the bill through the process quicker.
“We just took these bills up less than 24 hours ago in committee,” said Rep. Peter Merideth (D-St. Louis). “I think rushing this is a poor idea.”
According to the Missouri Department of Revenue, 877,429 Missourians would not receive a rebate at all, 946,726 residents would receive some sort of credit, and 1,389,095 would receive the maximum rebate.
“Folks, we are in the snap count in the legislative session right now,” Smith said. “Every day we take on the calendar is a day that we cannot get back.”
The plan could leave out many low-income Missourians and senior citizens because those making less than $13,000 or $26,000 as a couple likely have no tax liability.
“Those are the individuals that we’re trying to make sure that we can fund $500 to $1,000,” Bosley said. “Many of you have very poor communities, just like in certain areas of my district but they are not going to be the ones that get it.”
The department says it would cost more than $2 million to process the checks to recipients.
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) said this type of tax credit only gives relief to the wealthy.
“House Democrats support putting money back into the pockets of Missourians struggling to buy groceries, pay the rent or get a tank of gas. By contrast, House Republicans want to give $1 billion to the wealthy, while leaving most Missourians with little or nothing. House Bill 3021 is a rushed and poorly conceived giveaway for the rich that deserves the death that awaits it in the Senate.”
The House is expected to vote on the budget bill Thursday which would send the legislation to the Senate. The upper chamber has less than three weeks to take up the measure and get it to the governor’s desk by May 6 at 6 p.m.