The Senate Ways & Means Committee is considering a number of bills that would reduce or even eliminate the state income tax on Social Security benefits and/or pension income. A hearing on these bills brought out supporters and opponents. One of the opponents of the proposal to eliminate the tax on Social Security benefits is Tom Kruckemeyer, a former Chief Economist with the Missouri Budget Office who now toils for the Missouri Budget Project. He says the surplus Missouri now is enjoying could dry up in a hurry and the revenue lost as a result of the loss of these tax dollars could take a toll. He adds cutting the tax on Social Security benefits would help only the wealthy seniors. Senator Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau, sponsor of two of the bills, including one that would exempt all Social Security benefits from the state income tax, responded to comments from the Missouri Budget Project and other groups opposed to doing away with the tax. Crowell says this is a country of free market ideals, adding it’s disappointing to hear those principles assaulted by those he claims make their living spending other people’s money.