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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Rep. Robert Ross: Capitol Report May 1

  • Over the last several weeks I have enjoyed visiting with a number of constituents throughout the district, and have had the pleasure of recognizing several for their service to our communities. I recently had the pleasure of recognizing the employees of the Gentry Residential Treatment Facility in Cabool for their service.
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  • Over the last several weeks I have enjoyed visiting with a number of constituents throughout the district, and have had the pleasure of recognizing several for their service to our communities.  I recently had the pleasure of recognizing the employees of the Gentry Residential Treatment Facility in Cabool for their service.  Gentry is a part of the Division of Youth Services juvenile system, and provides an opportunity for troubled youth to turn their lives around; by teaching discipline, respect, and many life skills that are required to be a productive citizen.  The success of Gentry is solely dependent upon the quality of their employees, and it was an honor to see their work in action while being able to extend thanks for what they do.
     
    Loyd Mitchell was also recognized recently for his service as he enters retirement.  Loyd has served our country in the military and has been involved in law enforcement locally for the last 46 years; most recently as bailiff of the court for Texas County.  His dedication and service are greatly appreciated.
     
    I would also like to congratulate Texas County on the recent designation as a "Purple Heart" County.  This designation serves as a reminder to those travelling in our area of the sacrifices that were made to preserve our liberty.  The reverence that our area shows to our military heroes is a way of life here; and I'm definitely proud to call this my home.
     
    Legislature Makes Plans to Override Veto of Tax Cut Proposal (SB 509)
    As the legislature worked to pass a historic tax cut bill for all Missourians we did so with the knowledge that the governor has consistently stood in the way of lowering your tax burden. His recent actions and press conferences underscore a significant philosophical difference; that he wants to take and spend more of your hard earned dollars, while the legislature (myself included) believes that a reduction in the burden of government better serves the people.  This week he made good on his threats by vetoing what we intended to be the first reduction in personal income tax in nearly a century.
     
    The Facts on SB 509
    SB 509 will responsibly cut the tax burden on Missouri families and businesses by $620 million annually while also safeguarding funding to vital state services such as education.
    Individual Income Taxes:
    • SB 509 reduces individual income taxes by one half percent over a period of five years beginning in 2017
    Small business income tax deduction:
    • Beginning in 2017 small businesses will be allowed to deduct a maximum of 25 percent of business income over a period of no less than 5 years
    Page 2 of 3 - • This tax cut is specifically structured to ease the tax burden for small businesses
    • Small businesses make up more than 90 percent of our employers in the state, and this tax cut is specifically tailored to allow those employers to thrive and grow
    Tax cut for low-income Missourians:
    •  SB 509 will increases the personal income tax exemption amount by $500 for those whose adjusted gross income is less than $20,000
    • The tax benefits of SB 509 are triggered when the highest net GR collected in the previous three fiscal years is exceeded by at least $150 million.
    • Beginning in 2017, SB 509 also requires brackets of Missouri taxable income to be adjusted for inflation.
    Safeguarding Education Funding
    While the governor has attempted to paint SB 509 as a threat to education funding, his deceptions are exposed when the actual content of the bill is fairly and accurately analyzed.
     
    Because SB 509 requires revenues to increase by at least $150 million each year, revenues would have to increase by $750 million in order for the $620 million tax cut to be fully implemented.
     
    The net result is that state revenues would increase by at least $130 million, which would mean more money for education.
     
    The truth is that SB 509 would invest in Missouri families and businesses by allowing them to keep more of their hard-earned wages: a move that will grow the tax base and increase general revenue.
     
    Now that the governor has vetoed the bill, it is certain that the legislature will act quickly to override it. At this time we feel confident that we have the 109 votes necessary to override the governor’s veto and put this tax cut into effect for Missouri families and businesses. Next week will be very interesting to watch for all Missourians who believe a lower tax burden is the right direction for our state.
     
    Beef CheckOff ($1, $1.50, $2, $5, $?)
    For those that have been involved in agriculture (and namely beef production) for a number of years, you are probably aware of the $1 per head that is required to be paid any time that there is a change in ownership of the animal.  This program was created in 1988, and the proceeds have been used (.50¢ in Missouri, and .50¢ Nationally) towards protecting and enhancing the beef market through campaigns such as the "Beef, It's What's for Dinner," research, and international export marketing.  This session, legislation has been proposed in both the House and Senate, that would repeal the prohibition contained in §275.352, which disallows a "state only" amount to be collected in addition to the currently collected $1 per head per change in ownership.  The Beef Industry Council is requesting additional funds, and citing a decline in the purchasing power of $1 since 1988, and the reduced cattle numbers overall have reduced their income from a typical $1.8M down to $1.2M in recent years.  While the checkoff fee is $1 per head, it should be noted that the average income per animal is roughly $3 per head, resulting from multiple changes in ownership throughout the animal's lifetime.  If the repeal is successful, Missouri Department of Agriculture (MDA) will administer a registration and voting process, for producers to decide if they would like to increase the checkoff fee.  Voting will be limited to registered producers ONLY, and will also be based upon your "average" production over the past 3 years.
    Page 3 of 3 - When the bill came through the House, I was one of 26 voting against the repeal of the prohibition (due to several concerns), while it passed with 125 "yes" votes; although this proposal has a long road to successfully navigate the legislative process.  My most notable concern is with the producers that will be funding this measure; the overwhelming majority of which have not been contacted for their input.  I have reached out to a number of producers across the district thus far, but would welcome further input on this issue from those that are being asked to "pick up the tab."
     
    More Constituents Visiting the Capitol
    I would like to share with you photos of constituents / groups that have visited the Capitol in the last few weeks.  Please feel free use any and all photos in your upcoming weekly newspapers and share with your readers.  If you need additional information regarding a respective photo, please let me know.  Thank you!
     

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