The state of Missouri is facing fiscal obstacles this legislative session.
Last fiscal year, the state collected $120 million less in individual income tax payments than it did in 2017. For the current fiscal year, Missouri Department of Revenue figures show income tax revenue, as of Jan. 10, was $425 million lower than on the same date one year ago.
Despite Missouri having one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates, the state’s economic growth hasn’t kept up.
Democratic lawmakers blame a state income-tax cut — approved in 2014 and still being phased in — for low revenue growth. Missouri Republican leadership says the cut has helped the state economy.
If Missouri’s revenue picture doesn’t improve, relief won’t be immediate: Voters must approve tax increases. If budget cuts are made, they would likely hit education, as has happened in recent years.
Gov. Mike Parson, a Republican, continues to exhibit optimism, though. In a statement last week, he said Missouri is in a “strong financial position.”
Read more: Kansas City Star