Missouri Governor Eric Greitens has released a vague outline of a bold tax plan he’s been touting after saying more details would be forthcoming.
Greitens delayed a major statewide tour to promote his proposal scheduled for this week as an extramarital affair and allegations he tried to blackmail his lover have dominated news cycles.
What was released Thursday was what his office referred to as “principles” for his plan with a promise that more details would be provided in the upcoming weeks. Greitens did provide a short video of himself outlining the proposal on Facebook.
The Republican Governor touted “the boldest state tax reform in America” in his State of the State address on January 11th, hours before the revelation of his affair and blackmail allegations were outed by KMOV TV in St. Louis.
The Thursday release says the tax plan will be revenue neutral and will cut taxes for 97% of Missourians, but doesn’t specify how that goal will be reached, or how much taxes will be cut.
It also says income taxes will be eliminated for 380,000 low income earners without specifying what dollar amount of wages would qualify for the cut. Missouri’s highest tax bracket is already $3,000 below the federal poverty rate. Adjustments for inflation haven’t been made to the Missouri tax code for numerous decades.
A statement from Greitens in the release indicates working and middle class people will be the biggest beneficiaries of his plan. “We’re simplifying the tax code so small shops can compete with big businesses, said Greitens. “We’re cutting taxes on people that work hard so they can keep more money in their pocket.”
Two tax proposals were introduced side-by-side in committee this week by Republican Senator Bill Eigel of Weldon Spring and GOP Senator Andrew Koenig of Manchester. Neither lawmaker has commented on Governor Greitens’ Thursday release.
Democratic House Minority Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty distributed a statement in response to Greitens’ release, accusing what she called a “scandal plagued governor” of trying to change the subject with a vague tax plan.
“The governor’s vague promise to cut taxes for nearly all Missourians with no details on how he will achieve this magical feat sounds more like the desperation play of an administration in danger of collapsing from scandal than a serious policy proposal,” said McCann Beatty. “Until Eric Greitens stops hiding and, in his own words, offers a full and detailed public denial of the allegations that he threatened his former mistress, Missourians won’t hear anything else he says.”
Lawmakers from both parties have expressed frustration that the scandal is making it more difficult to conduct business at the capitol.
Greitens has admitted he had an extramarital affair in 2015, before becoming governor. He has also vehemently denied the allegations that he threatened to blackmail his mistress.
In the TV report, the unnamed woman in question was being secretly recorded by her ex-husband. In that recording, she indicated that Greitens blindfolded her, tied her to pull-up rings while she was partially naked, snapped a photo, and then threatened to distribute the photo if she mentioned his name.