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Missouri GOP leaders want tax cuts, but details remain a challenge

Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly are poised to push for tax cuts for individuals and businesses during the remainder of the 2018 session.

The early GOP plans from the House and Senate and Gov. Eric Greitens’ office have that much in common. But there are many variations and definitions of “tax reform,” and it is likely to take months to hammer out a final tax package.

The push for state tax reform follows efforts by Congress and President Donald Trump to change the federal tax code. In addition to laying the social groundwork by fueling conversation about tax law, the recent changes will affect Missouri’s tax code due to federal-state links between the standard deduction and the personal exemption provisions.

Details have trickled out about the governor’s plan, which centers on the promise to cut taxes for businesses and for “97 percent of Missourians” — without blowing a hole in the budget.

Greitens said Thursday he was confident that if his plan is enacted, Missouri won’t end up like Kansas, which slashed taxes and then was forced to do the same to the state budget when expected economic growth was absent; or like Illinois, which faces a massive public pension shortfall and is essentially bankrupt.

The governor disputed recent analysis from Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who sounded alarms about “the increased stress on the Missouri budget from an eroding tax base while expenditures increase,” leading to budget cuts.

Greitens said he was willing to work with lawmakers to achieve tax cuts and had recently spoken to several Republicans in the Senate.

Read more: Springfield News-Leader

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