JEFFERSON CITY - A Missouri group is challenging a petition, originally proposed by a controversial conservative billionaire, which would eliminate the state's income tax and raise sales taxes.
Leaders from the organization, known as the "Coalition for Missouri's Future," said the end of the state's income tax would create increased hardships for Missourians--accusing the petition's main backer, billionaire Rex Sinquefeld, of protecting personal interests.
"It's amazing to many of our members how in these tough economic times in Missouri, voters are being asked to support a terribly regressive sales tax," said Coalition leader Richard Martin in a conference call with reporters Tuesday. "[Repealing the income tax] doesn't even come close to replacing the revenue the state receives today."
The Coaltion, which they said is back by nearly "30 groups" including the Missouri AARP, said the petition's implementation would lead to nearly $1.5 billion in revenue loss.
Travis Brown, a lobbyist in Jefferson City on behalf of the Sinquefeld-funded group "Let Voters Decide," argued the end of a state-wide income tax will lead to roughly $3.5 billion in revenue for Missouri.
"States in the past that did not have an income tax, that chose to purpose one, always had negative growth," Brown said. "So it’s pretty clear cut that the states that don’t have a personal income tax grow faster in economic activity, attract more people to their state, and have better opportunities for small business growth."
An eliminated income tax, in this petition, would create a state-wide sales tax capped at seven percent, with an additional three percent cap on local sales tax rates. Local sales tax cap, though, can be repealed with voter approval.
The petition, which places an amendment inside the Missouri constitution, needs to be placed on a ballot and approved by voters before becoming law.