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Rep. Paul Curtman: Inflation Tax Fix Should Be A No-Brainer

Missouri’s tax structure is as archaic as it is unbalanced.  Like most Missourians, you are probably not the wealthiest or the poorest in the state but rather somewhere in between. You also likely fall into Missouri’s highest income tax bracket. Currently set at $9,000, every dollar all Missourians make in this top bracket is taxed at 6 percent.
The bracket system was established in 1931 during the Great Depression, a time in which a $9,000 yearly income meant you were living pretty well. Had the tax brackets adjusted for inflation since 1931, the highest tax bracket would be closer to $135,000 today.  The unfortunate reality about this problem is that at a $9,000 yearly income, Missouri has you paying its highest income tax rate although you are still only making about $2,400 below the national poverty level!
I sponsored a bill that would fix this glaring problem.  My proposal will cause our tax brackets to adjust for inflation from this point forward and it will immediately render a little tax relief to some of the poorest Missourians first and over time begin to stem the inflation tax back a little.
The General Assembly – which voted my proposal forward in a 146-4 vote – believed my idea to have such strong merits that they added it to SB 509, a light tax policy reform bill that currently is awaiting Governor Nixon’s signature.
The overwhelming majority of both Republicans and Democrats in the Missouri House supported my fix.  Unfortunately, it seems Jay Nixon isn’t eager to move in the direction of sound tax reform; he has made it clear he wants all Missourians to pay him his six.
Tax reform is going to be fundamentally necessary to the economic development of our state; we need to find ways of keeping more money in the local economy to strengthen it. SB 509 is a fair tax reform proposal that brings to an end the 90-year bilking of the poor and gives every taxpayer a little immediate relief.