Republican state Treasurer Eric Schmitt recently wrote a guest column in the conservative political website the Daily Caller in which he called on Congress to cut taxes.
Schmitt is a major proponent of lower taxes. While serving in the Missouri Senate, he authored such legislation in 2014 with fellow Republican Will Kraus of Lee’s Summit.
The measure drops individual income taxes by one-tenth-of-one percent and those on small businesses by 5% if revenue collections in a year exceed any of the three previous years by $150 million.
The bill, as passed and placed into law with an override over then Democratic Governor Jay Nixon’s veto, goes into effect in 2018 despite ongoing withholds of services because revenues aren’t keeping up with expenses.
In January, Missourians will see their income taxes reduced from 6% to 5.9% while small businesses (that file through the individual income tax structure) will see their rates drop to 5.5% The same scenario is allowed to play out four more times before the law sunsets.
In his Daily Caller column, Schmitt praises President Trump’s recent speech in Springfield which gave a general outline of proposed changes to the tax code. Schmitt calls Trump’s plan “tax reform that is pro-growth, pro-American and pro-worker”.
He notes the last time the tax structure was overhauled was in 1986, and in an interview with Missouirnet Columbia affiliate KSSZ, he says middle income people deserve a tax cut.
“I grew up in a working class family,” say Schmitt. “My dad worked seven-days-a-week. He worked the midnight shift to provide for our family. And middle class families deserve a tax cut. They deserve tax relief. It’s past time.”
Tracy Gleason with the left leaning Missouri Budget Project (MBP) notes Trump called for middle class tax cuts in his Springfield speech, but contends a framework laid out by the President earlier this year doesn’t match up with that claim.
“When you look at that framework, you see that the benefits really disproportionately go to the highest incomes,” says Gleason. “The truly middle class would actually, probably end up paying more for services they lose than they would actually see in any kind of tax cut.”
Schmitt’s Daily Caller piece echoes a number of themes Trump brought up in Springfield, including a call to simplify the tax code. He almost reiterates word-for-word Trump’s reference to figures from The Tax Foundation that Americans spend $99 billion and 2.6 billion hours each year complying with income tax requirements.
While speaking to KSSZ, Schmitt also follows Trump’s lead in calling for corporate taxes to be sharply reduced, and complained about the current rate of 35%.
“I mean the idea that we have the highest corporate income tax rate in the industrialized world is ridiculous,” says Schmitt.
Gleason with MBP counters that corporate taxes aren’t so high in the U.S. when loopholes and credits are figured in.
“We might have a higher maximum tax rate, but when you take those loopholes and tax breaks into account, the United States is actually pretty much in line with other countries,” says Gleason.
For his part, Trump stressed the need to close corporate tax loopholes, and acknowledged the rollbacks could negatively impact his personal income. In his piece, Schmitt makes no reference to loopholes.
The State Treasurer concludes his Daily Caller column by proclaiming that Congress needs to pass tax cuts by the end of the year.
“We expect Congress to show us tax reform that benefits working families by the end of the year,” says Schmitt.
In his discussion with KSSZ, he says it was the responsibility of Republicans, who control Congress and the White House, to follow through with the cuts.
“Last November ushered in a real opportunity, not just at the state level, certainly at the national level. So Republicans are in charge of both the House and the Senate, have the Presidency, so there’s no excuse not to get this done,” he says.
Schmitt was elected State Treasurer in a Republican sweep of statewide seats on the ballot last November that also included Trump carrying Missouri by 19 points.