Today, Governor Eric Greitens directed a team to fix the broken tax system that is hurting Missouri's budget and killing jobs. He first announced the committee via Facebook, with a post that reads:
“I have traveled all over the state of Missouri and held hundreds of town hall meetings with our citizens. From Hannibal to Joplin, Missourians asked me many things. But not a single person—not one—ever came up to me and said, “Could I get a special interest tax credit?”
For decades, special interests and lobbyists have received billions of taxpayer dollars in the form of tax credits. The people taking the money make big promises about jobs—but their performance hasn’t lived up to their pledges. Every year, more money flows out of this shadowy system into the pockets of insiders—and no one asks hard questions about how the system works, or doesn’t work, for the people of Missouri. If special interest tax credits made for a prosperous economy, Missouri would be thriving.
What our people want is a tax system that is simple, fair, and low. What we have instead is a tax system that is complex, corrupt, and high. So today, I signed an executive order to put an end to our broken tax system once and for all.
The Governor’s Committee for Simple, Fair, and Low Taxes is going to devote itself to fixing this system for the benefit of all people, not just the well-connected. Our argument is clear: A simple and fair tax system will help create jobs. That’s what I’m fighting for everyday: more jobs and higher pay.
The lobbyists and insiders will throw a fit, but we’re ready for the fight. They will spread falsehoods and myths, but we weren’t sent here to fight for them. We were sent here to fight for the people—and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”
The committee was established through an executive order, the text of which is copied below.
WHEREAS, Missourians should pay no more in taxes than absolutely necessary to fund the essential services of state government; and
WHEREAS, as President Ronald Reagan said, “Government does not tax to get the money it needs; government always finds a need for the money it gets;” and
WHEREAS, Missouri’s tax structure should be simple, fair to everyone, and low; and
WHEREAS, Missouri has dozens of different tax credit programs; and
WHEREAS, Missouri awards more than half a billion dollars each year in tax credits; and
WHEREAS, a more effective tax policy will make Missouri more attractive to businesses and create jobs; and
WHEREAS, a committee is needed to study Missouri’s tax rates and tax credits, and to recommend proposed reforms.
NOW THEREFORE, I, ERIC R. GREITENS, GOVERNOR OF THE STATE OF MISSOURI, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of Missouri, do hereby order:
1. The Governor’s Committee for Simple, Fair, and Low Taxes is hereby established.
2. The goals of the Committee shall be to:
a. Compare Missouri’s tax credit programs and its tax rates to those of its peer states;
b. Assess the economic impact of existing state tax credit programs;
c. Assess the possibility of financing cuts to overall state tax rates with cuts to tax credit programs; and
d. Recommend comprehensive tax reform legislation to the Governor no later than June 30, 2017.
3. The Committee shall hold at least four town hall meetings around the state to receive comments from members of the public.
4. The Committee shall be comprised of ten unpaid members:
a. Four members appointed by the Governor;
b. Three members appointed by the President Pro Tem of the Senate; and
c. Three members appointed by the Speaker of the House.
5. The Governor shall designate a chair of the Committee.
6. The Committee shall be dissolved upon the submission of its recommendations to the Governor.