Corporate taxes, union regulations, fuel tax highlight busy finish for lawmakers

Before Missouri lawmakers pivoted their full attention Friday evening to a special session to consider the fate of Gov. Eric Greitens, they passed a flurry of bills in the waning hours of their regular session. The session’s final day brought approval of bills to cut corporate taxes, establish tougher regulations for labor unions and let voters consider an increase to the state’s gas tax.

Here’s a rundown of some of the biggest items passed Friday:

Tax cut

Lawmakers approved a plan to lower corporate tax rates to 4 percent, down from 6.25 percent. The bill, which would take effect in 2020, would change also change how taxes are calculated and paid.

That measure is in addition to a bill to reduce individual income tax rates, approved Thursday.

Labor unions

Lawmakers approved a “paycheck protection” bill that requires public unions to receive annual permission from members to withhold dues and fund political purposes. The bill also requires additional public disclosures from unions and requires votes every three years to retain representation.

They also sent to the governor a bill to change to the state’s prevailing wage law, which sets a minimum wage for workers on public construction projects.

Gas tax

The legislature agreed to let voters decide on a measure that would increase Missouri’s fuel tax 10 cents by 2022. The item will go on the November ballot.

The state’s current fuel tax, 17 cents per gallon, is the lowest in the nation and hasn’t been raised since the 1990s.

Keeping score

Lawmakers approved 142 bills in all, the most since 2014 and more than double the 70 they approved last year.

House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, called the session “the most successful implementation of conservative reforms in the history of this state.”

Democrats disagreed. Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, called the GOP’s agenda “destructive” and predicted it would hurt economic growth in the future.

Read more: Kansas City Star, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Columbia Missourian

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