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Is New "Everything Tax" Proposal Wrong for MO?

December 27, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - After all the holiday shopping, having a little more disposal income may sound like a good idea, and there's a proposal about to eliminate Missouri's state income tax and replace it with a ten-percent sales tax.

However, a statewide coalition of business, labor, education, health care, and civic organizations has formed to fight the proposal for the so-called Everything Tax. Norma Collins, advocacy director for AARP Missouri, says it would place a sales tax on items that haven't been taxed before, and would hit older people hard.

"For seniors who are living on a fixed income, these things that they're going to be purchasing, such as their prescription drugs, they're going to be taxed."

Supporters of the proposal argue that with elimination of the state income tax, consumers would increase spending and therefore generate more jobs.

Rent, health care, and child care would be exempt from the proposed sales tax, but Collins says the Everything Tax is regressive.

"Right now there are estimates that there will be a budget shortfall of about $3.2 billion, which would definitely force cuts to crucial programs like Medicaid, the insurance program for low-income individuals."

The proposed ballot measure could appear before voters next year if enough signatures are gathered. Last year, the Legislature considered a similar measure, which failed.

The organization against the proposal is Coalition for Missouri's Future. The group behind the proposal is Let Voters Decide.

Heather Claybrook, Public News Service - MO