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Missouri Legislative Session Nearing End

The Missouri Budget Project says struggling families would benefit from a couple of pieces of legislation currently being considered in the state. (Veronica Carter)
The Missouri Budget Project says struggling families would benefit from a couple of pieces of legislation currently being considered in the state. (Veronica Carter)
April 29, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - Only a couple of weeks are left in the legislative session in Missouri, and advocacy groups are hoping to get a couple of bills approved that benefit working families.

The Missouri Budget Project has been pushing for passage of House Bill 1605 and Senate Bill 1018 to establish an Earned Income Tax Credit. Amy Blouin, executive director of the group, said it would boost the middle class and the economy. The tax credit is in place in 27 other states, she said, and has been proved to reduce poverty by providing low-income people who are employed a little extra money at tax time.

"Families have to be working in order to receive the credit," she said. "The credit actually increases until incomes are actually near the poverty level, and as the family income increases beyond that, the credit is phased out over time."

Blouin said statistics show that when people get money back at tax time, it helps them with essential needs such as child care, medical expenses or purchasing a vehicle to get to and from work. She said people usually spend the money in the community where they live.

States have developed tax credits based on the federal program because it's been so successful, she said.

"They're generally based on a percent of the federal," she said. "So if a family is eligible for a $1,000 credit on the federal level, they'd get a percent of that in the state. In Missouri it's a 20 percent credit."

Another bill the Missouri Budget Project is pushing is SB 795, the Streamlined Sales Tax Agreement. It would make sure taxes collected on internet purchases in Missouri actually come to Missouri. Blouin said the state is missing out on a lot of money that could be used for services for low-income families.

"There's an estimate done by the University of Missouri Truman School," she said, "that indicates Missouri missed out on $358 million in state and local sales tax revenue in 2014 alone."

Blouin said both pieces of legislation would go a long way in helping struggling families in Missouri.

Texts are online for HB 1605, Senate Bill 1018 and SB 795.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - MO