When Democrat Bob Holden was Governor and tried to close some business tax loopholes, Republicans accused him of wanting to raise taxes on business. Now a Republican Governor wants to make some businesses pay 30-million dollars more in taxes and the rhetoric has changed. Governor Blunt has promised no tax increases. State budget director Larry Shepker avoids using the phrase–although given several opportunities to do so in a press briefing on the budget–when discussing the way the governor wants to get 30-million dollars more in taxes from businesses. He calls it “correcting the current tax structure” which pretty much sounds like closing a loophole in the minds of some of the reporters at the briefing. “No, I wouldn’t call it anything,” said Kempker. “It is a correction in state statutes to implement the proper collection of state taxes,” he said. But somebody will be paying 30-milliion dollars more in taxes. Isn’t that a tax increase, Deputy budget director Marty Drewell? “It’s a clearer definition in staute,” he said. But somebody is going to pay increased taxes. “There will be a net increase of thirty million dollars,” admitted Shepker. Well, he was asked, will it just come out of the air or will somebody pay it? “Somebody will pay it.” But calling increased taxes….a tax increase…is just not something the Blunt budget office can say. “Even though it will result in additional revenue…it’s not changing to force a tax increase, it’s a proper way to pay a tax,” according to Shepker. And some of those properly paying taxes will be paying more taxes if the Governor’s no-tax-increase increase goes through.
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