Debate on a tax break for corporations turns sharp in the House, revealing a deep philosophical split between Republicans and Democrats.

It was an especially sharp exchange for a bill that won approval 138-to-23; a bill that would eliminate the corporate franchise tax for most Missouri businesses.

Rep. Jeff Roorda (D-Barnhart) calls HB 86 "Reaganomics" in a confrontation during House floor debate with the sponsor, Rep. Mike Sutherland (R-Warrenton). Roorda, and other Democrats, accuse Republicans of having only a one-track mind on economic recovery:  corporate tax breaks. Sutherland counters that Democrats rely too heavily on government and don’t trust the people. He says the tax break will ease the financial pinch on small businesses and help them lead the state out of recession.

The bill raises the asset threshold to pay the corporate franchise tax from one million dollars to ten million, effectively eliminating it for 12,000 of the 15,000 corporations which now pay it. It is estimated to cost around $12 million annually.

The debate now moves to the Senate.

Download/listen Brent Martin reports (1:25 MP3)