Missouri House Veterans Committee chairman Rep. Dave Griffith (R-Jefferson City) has filed legislation tasking the Missouri Veterans Commission with expanding its efforts to prevent veteran suicide. The bill was heard in committee this week. Chairman Griffith tells 939 the Eagle’s “Wake Up Mid-Missouri” that the bill is needed to address Missouri’s high veteran suicide numbers. Chairman Griffith, an ally of GOP Governor Mike Parson, says he’s disappointed the governor’s proposed budget didn’t include $27-million in extra funding for the 988 number. The 988 number is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Griffith also praises Missouri House Speaker Dean Plocher (R-Des Peres) for the pace of the session this year. Griffith says things are moving quicker than in past years:
Missouri lawmakers will return to Jefferson City next week for a special session called by Governor Mike Parson (R). The governor wants the GOP-controlled Legislature to approve the largest tax cut in state history and to approve a six-year extension of farm tax credits.
The governor says Missouri has a record surplus, noting state general revenues are up 20 percent over last year and that sales and use tax money is up 13 percent. Missouri’s current state tax rate is 5.4 percent. It drops to 5.3 percent in January. Governor Parson is asking lawmakers to lower the state tax rate from 5.3 to 4.8 percent.
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade (D-Springfield) says Parson’s tax cut plan is fiscally irresponsible. saying it would transform the temporary surplus into a permanent revenue loss. 939 the Eagle asked Governor Parson about Leader Quade’s concerns, during a recent Columbia visit. The governor says Quade’s comments are “political propaganda.”
“We’re funding programs at a higher level than anybody ever has on the state level. When we look at education, higher education, K-12, health care, infrastructure, workforce development, apprenticeships … at the highest levels ever. And we’ve run these numbers and we’re doing to be able to maintain all that,” Parson says.
Leader Quade also says the tax cut will primarily benefit the wealthy. The Missouri Democratic Party says the governor’s plan calls for a $6,000 tax cut to the top one percent, and a $100 tax cut for someone making less than $22,000.
Governor Parson views it differently, saying the tax cut is aimed at giving the people their money back. He says under his plan, every Missourian will earn their first $16,000 tax-free and married joint filers will earn their first $32,000 tax-free. Parson says the tax cut will benefit everyone, tells 939 the Eagle that Missouri will still be able to fund programs at their current level.
“We’re very positive about that. We’ve run the numbers on it. We believe we’re going to be able to sustain this for the long haul. So it’s going to be a great day for all Missourians no matter what class you’re in, no matter where you live. You’re going to get a tax break,” says Parson.
The special session will start on Tuesday September 6, which is the day after Labor Day. Governor Parson says a single bill will be filed in the Senate that includes the tax cut and farm tax credit extension. He hopes for quick passage. The Missouri House is expected to come in the following week.
The annual legislative veto session is Wednesday September 14 in Jefferson City.