JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Lawmakers in Missouri’s Republican-led Legislature have proposed pro-industry measures ranging from incentives for small businesses to a tax break for farmers who raise captive deer to sell the animals’ urine. Here’s a breakdown of the estimated costs and where some of the legislation stands as the May 13 end of session approaches.
GET OFF MY BACK
Lawmakers are close to passing a five-year extension to a package of tax incentives for small businesses, known by legislators as the Big Government Get Off My Back Act. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees would be able to claim a $10,000 tax deduction for each job they create that pays above their county’s average wage. Businesses could claim a $20,000 deduction if they also provide health insurance.
The Senate passed the House bill this past week but it went back to the House for a review because it was changed. Legislative researchers estimate it could cost up to $120,070 a year.
A Senate bill up for final passage in the House would exempt Internet access from state and local sales taxes, as well as expanding production tax exemptions to companies that provide telecommunications services and data analysis. Legislative researchers estimate the cost to be as much as $900 million in general revenue and more than $1.1 billion in local revenue next fiscal year, which Republican sponsor Sen. Will Kraus disputes. He said he plans to work with Gov. Jay Nixon’s administration to make changes that would lower the potential cost.
Restaurants wouldn’t have to pay state sales taxes on electricity and other utilities used to prepare food under a measure that would extend tax exemptions currently in place for manufacturers. Bakers, fast food restaurants, grocery stores and others would be covered under the House bill, which is scheduled for a Tuesday hearing in the Senate.
Legislative researchers estimate the measure would cost between $5.6 million and $9.3 million in general revenue next fiscal year, which begins July 1. The estimated costs to other state funding range from about $2.2 million to $3.7 million for next year.
Instructional classes would be exempt from sales tax under another bill by Kraus that’s pending in a House committee. Researchers say the potential cost is unknown. Kraus said the aim is to stop sales taxes on yoga and other fitness classes. Another Senate proposal to exempt gym membership and other fitness classes from sales taxes still is awaiting floor debate. The estimated cost is more than $6.7 million in lost general revenue, more than $2.7 million in other state funding and as much as $8.7 million in local funds next fiscal year.
A Senate bill pending in a House committee would exempt durable medical equipment from sales taxes. That would cover wheel chairs, for example. Legislative researchers say it could cost more than $100,000 in general revenue, $300,000 in other state funding and $100,000 in local funds annually.
Farmers who raise captive deer and then sell their urine wouldn’t pay sales taxes for the animals under a House bill that hasn’t progressed far enough in the legislative process to receive a cost estimate. It’s unlikely to pass.
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