|The Missouri House is currently debating HJR 8, which if enacted and passed by voters, would increase taxes on 95% of Missourians. The mega sales tax is unlike any sales tax in any other state - it would apply to nearly all services, as well as products that are currently exempt from sales taxes. In addition, it could result in lower state revenues, which would necessitate drastic cuts in state services.
"The so-called fair tax is anything but fair to the 95 percent of Missouri families who would experience a dramatic tax increase," said Amy Blouin, executive director of the Missouri Budget Project. "Missouri families would be charged a mega sales tax on basic necessities like food, rent, health care costs, and child care."
HJR 8 proposes a constitutional amendment for the November 2012 ballot that would eliminate the state's personal and corporate income taxes and replace them with a greatly expanded sales tax that would be applied to a much broader range of goods AND services than are currently taxed.
While the current proposal would cap the state sales tax at seven percent, several expert independent assessments have determined that the rate would actually need to be as much as 12 percent to replace existing state revenue. This rate would be applied to nearly everything families and individuals in Missouri spend money on, including food, child care, prescription medication, and even nursing home care and funeral services. The breadth of items and services subject to the tax would be unlike anything ever done in any other state, creating a real burden for families - particularly young families with child care costs and seniors living on fixed incomes.
Although those groups would be among the hardest hit, 95 percent of Missourians would see increased taxes. There would not, however, be a corresponding increase in state services or revenue because corporations and the wealthiest five percent of Missourians would have a significant tax reduction. As a result, the state could face a shortfall of more than $3 billion, causing devastating budget cuts to education, health care, services for seniors, and the infrastructure that makes Missouri a desirable place to live and work.
"This proposal is unlike any sales tax in any other state," continued Blouin. "95 percent of Missourians would pay more, and they may get less in return. Show me how that's 'fair.'"
Commentary submitted by Traci Gleason, director of communications & public engagement, Missouri Budget Project