Doubts and outright hostility highlight a discussion of the proposed Fair Tax when the Governor and some legislative leaders meet the press.
A petition campaign financed by a Missouri multi-millionaire will focus on getting a statewide vote on throwing out the income tax. Campaign organizers say it’s more fair to charge higher sales taxes.
Governor Nixon, meeting with newspaper editors and capitol reporters, calls the fair tax a bad idea. “That’s a significant tax increase on a lot of things, for a lot of good reasons, that have not been taxed in the past,” he says. Nixon says the Fair tax would cripple the economies of cities along the borders where Missourians could go to lower-sales tax states to buy things.
Senate leader Rob Mayer does not think the Fair Tax will pass although he likes the concept. But he says the devil is in the details. “What services do you exempt out?” he asks, forecasting that various services will demand to be exempted out of sales tax collections, too.
And assistant Senate minority leader Jolie Justus has nothing good to say about the idea at all. “We think it’s a really horrible idea, just a really bad idea,” she says.
Mayer says a lot of questions about the impact of the tax will need to be worked out over an extended time. Justus says the chief value of the fair tax is that it prompts discussion of tax reform. Mayer says meaningful tax reform is something that should be carefully worked out by the legislature, not put before voters through a petition campaign.
NOTE: We have comments from the Governor, and a separate soundbite that includes comments from Senate leader Rob Mayer, Assistant Senate Minority leader Jolie Justus, House Minority Whip Mike Colona, and House Speaker Protem Shane Shoeller.