To The Editor:
Two weeks ago the parents and community of the Washington School District put a knife in the back of quality public education and now our Republican state senators want to twist that knife.
In a dangerous race to the bottom, Missouri is considering tax cuts for corporations and the most wealthy. The tax cuts will undermine Missouri’s economy by draining resources from the very things businesses need to thrive.
Adding insult to injury, Senate Bill 26 and other Republican proposals would give millionaires a large tax break, while raising overall taxes for the rest of us. That’s because the bill includes a sales tax increase to help off-set the cost of tax breaks for large, profitable corporations and millionaires. While the wealthy few get a break, Missourians with average incomes of $33,000 or less would pay more, including seniors who rely on Social Security. Meanwhile, middle class families will see major cuts to their neighborhood public schools.
The Republicans claim lower taxes will drive growth. In fact, Missouri corporations already pay lower taxes than in all but six states. If it were true that low taxes spurred economic growth, Missouri would already be overflowing with businesses and jobs. It has not happened.
The Republican Senate’s proposal would cost nearly $1 billion yearly, requiring massive cuts to education, roads and public safety. That $1 billion is equivalent to one-third of Missouri’s K-12 funding.
Those costs are important because when businesses decide where to locate or expand, they look for an educated work force, good schools and good transportation. Missouri is already behind like the Washington School District, reeling from years of cuts that have increased class sizes, increased college tuition, and left bridges and highways in disrepair.
If Missouri really wants to create jobs and compete globally, it must invest in businesses, schools, families and individuals to thrive. It must support transportation, invest in our schools and colleges and protect businesses for safety, not give the most wealthy tax breaks.
Missouri Republican lawmakers should stop the assault on the middle class, public services and instead invest in services that will benefit all.
If you don’t want higher sales taxes, contact your senator, Brian Nieves.