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Fearing tax surprise, Missouri speaker creates oversight panel on revenue issues

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The leading Republican in the Missouri House announced Wednesday he’s forming a special committee on government oversight.

Among its first priorities will be looking into issues at the Missouri Department of Revenue, which told officials last month that tax bills and lower refunds this tax season will help cover a revenue gap created by a withholding error made by the state.

A statement from House Speaker Elijah Haahr, R-Springfield, did not specify the revenue issue as being a focus of the panel, however.

“We have a deep commitment to ensuring the government is a good steward of taxpayers’ money and is transparent in its actions,” Haahr said.

The error by Gov. Mike Parson’s administration has drawn strong rebukes from both Democrats and Republicans, who worry how it will impact Missourians this tax season. As of the end of January, the state was $382 million behind on net revenue collections from the same date a year ago.

A stew of tax issues and “moving parts” have created the current revenue situation, officials said, including an error in the state’s withholding tables and withholding changes coming from President Donald Trump’s tax cuts.

As one lawmaker said, the federal tax cut exposed the state’s error. The federal government is also dealing with the issue.

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