Over the last decade, while the state made very deep cuts to health care, mental health care and critical services for children and seniors, we also witnessed a 60 percent growth in tax credits and passage of $300 million in state tax cuts directed at a select portion of the population. In fact, according to the Joint Tax Policy Committee of the General Assembly, the state currently has $2.4 Billion in outstanding tax credits that are expected to come due over the next five years.
The state is now considering additional cuts to the core services that help our families thrive including education, child care, and other basic infrastructure needs. These are the services that provide the foundation on which a strong economy is built.
For too long our state has relied solely on cuts to these critical services to address its budget pressures and has not addressed the continued decline in state revenue. The only responsible course of action at this point is to address the revenue options that the state has including evaluating tax credits and plugging the unfair loopholes in our current tax structure.
The Missouri Budget project applauds the House Minority Caucus for its call to action today on revenue. We are hopeful that this stand, in addition to recent bills filed by republican legislators to close loopholes and evaluate tax credits, will bring forth a critical, bipartisan, discussion about state revenue solutions when the legislators return to work on March 15th. For our state's economy to improve and for Missouri families to move out of this recession and into a prosperous future, Missourians need our elected officials to provide proactive leadership to shore up revenue.
Commentary by Amy Blouin,
Missouri Budget Project executive director