The Buzz

GOP white paper suggests Missouri drop corporate income tax, other big changes

A white paper issued by a Missouri Republican Party task force — and obtained by The Buzz — recommends sweeping changes to the state tax code and suggests that lawmakers consider wiping out the income tax.

Also recommended: elimination of the Economic Development Department, which the committee said has become an agency that picks “winners and losers” through state tax credits.

The state party has not formally adopted the report. But officials regard it as a starting point for further conversations. The task force was formed by state party chair Ed Martin and former state Rep. Shane Schoeller.

Among the committee members is Kansas City lawyer Jean Paul Bradshaw, a former U.S. attorney.

The committee concluded that the state economy is “badly underperforming” and that families and workers are falling behind.

Recommendation one was to eliminate the corporate income tax and pay for it by erasing many state tax credits.

Calling the corporate income tax “inefficient and burdensome,” the committee said wiping out the tax was “one of the most promising ways to energize Missouri’s underachieving economy.”

In suggesting that Missouri consider eliminating the income tax, the committee said the sales tax should be broadened by wiping out the more than 400 exemptions now included in the tax code.

The panel also said that while the income tax is in place, the General Assembly should reduce the number of tax brackets and include new deductions to encourage savings and simplify the law.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has urged his state to work toward eliminating the income tax. He’s also pushed through big cuts in business taxes in the state.

Republican lawmakers in Missouri this year sought to make big cuts to income taxes, but Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill and successfully held off an override attempt last month. The issue is destined to arise again next year.