Push begins in Missouri Senate to eliminate earnings taxes in St. Louis and Kansas City

A Missouri Senate committee is weighing legislation that would eliminate the 1 percent earnings tax in both St. Louis and Kansas City, effective Dec. 31, 2017.

Republican Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, who’s also running for attorney general, brought his bill before the Senate committee on ways and means Thursday.  He says the tax is economically harmful, unconstitutional and affects people outside of the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.

A few witnesses testified in favor of the bill, including Sean Marotta, an attorney from Washington D.C., who represented the plaintiff in Wynn v. Maryland State Comptroller, the decision that struck down Baltimore’s version of the earnings tax. He argued that the St. Louis and Kansas City earnings taxes result in people being double-taxed for the same dollar.

Dozens of witness testified against the bill, including St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

James told the committee that losing the earnings tax would cost Kansas City $230 million and would force him to cut the city’s work force in half.

Slay echoed James’ testimony, saying that Schaefer’s proposal would also devastate city services in St. Louis.

No action was taken on Schaefer’s bill Thursday.

Read more: St. Louis Public Radio, Kansas City Star, Missourinet

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