MO Group: Economic-Recovery Payment Plan Excludes Too Many
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
As the Missouri Senate considers a proposal for economic-relief payments passed by the House, advocates for working families urge lawmakers to make sure all Missourians are included.
The bill before the Legislature would provide a tax rebate of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for married couples filing jointly, based on the income tax they owe.
Traci Gleason, vice president for external relations with the Missouri Budget Project, pointed out a third of Show Me State residents earn so little that they don't owe any income tax - which means they would be left out from receiving these payments.
"These are the very Missourians who are struggling most to make ends meet," said Gleason, "and also pay a higher proportion of their income in state and local taxes than other income groups."
She said many families may be expecting the full $500 or $1,000 amount, but that will only be going to those with that much income tax liability. That means certain households will be receiving just a portion of that amount.
Gleason added that as the costs for food, gas and other necessities rise, residents are paying more in sales and excise taxes - even those who don't owe income tax.
She noted that this tax credit is intended to help deal with inflation, and that making the payments refundable is one option for including everyone.
"By making the tax credit refundable," said Gleason, "we can make sure that those who are most struggling to afford gas and put food on the table also see some economic relief."
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the price of food overall increased 8% between March of 2021 and March of 2022. Meat, poultry and fish went up nearly 14%, and fruits and veggies have gone up 8.5%.
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