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Senate Bill 509 Doesn’t Add Up: Tax Cuts Detrimental to Missouri’s Schools

Passage in the Missouri Senate of a bill that would cut taxes by an estimate $620 million is bad news for public education in Missouri, which is already severely underfunded.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus (R-Lee’s Summit) cuts individual income tax rates and phases in an increased deduction on business income reported on an individual’s tax return. The bill has been passed by the senate and will go to the Missouri House later this week.

Of course, it would be nice to save a few dollars on individual income taxes, but what would you say if you knew that for every dollar you saved on your taxes, a students’ educational investment was reduced by three times that amount?

The Missouri Department of Revenue estimates that there are 2.75 million tax-paying residents in the state. Kraus’s $620 million in tax cuts would create a per-person savings of around $225 per year, while the state’s Foundation Formula for education is currently underfunding the average Missouri public school student by $700 per year.

Is $225 per year in individual savings worth cheating an elementary or secondary school student in Missouri of $700 in school supplies, transportation provisions, and teachers’ salaries? Governor Nixon doesn’t think so:

"At a time when public education is more important than ever to the strength of our economy, Senate Bill 509 would permanently undermine Missouri's ability to support K-12 and higher education. In fact, with a price tag of more than $620 million annually, Senate Bill 509 is the equivalent of wiping out the investments needed to fully fund our K-12 foundation formula and keep college affordable. Once again, the choice facing members of the General Assembly is clear: they can invest in good schools and create good jobs or they can support reckless fiscal experiments, but they cannot do both." – Gov. Jay Nixon (source)

If you’re the parent of a Missouri public school student, consider the return on your investment: Does it make sense to possibly save $225, knowing that that same savings would cost your child $700? We urge you to contact your Legislator immediately to ask them to vote against SB509 when it’s raised in the House on Thursday.

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