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      Business groups takes sides on tax cuts from HB 253

      The debate continutes over HB 253 as the state legislature prepares for its annual veto session.

      The Columbia Chamber of Commerce breaks ranks with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry by supporting Governor Jay Nixon's veto of House Bill 253.

      The bill would phase in a cut to the income tax and raise the sales tax. Some business leaders say it would spur job creation.

      Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Bob Wagner said in a news release that the effect on education is the reason for the stance.

      "The Columbia Chamber of Commerce is very concerned with our economy and we strongly support anything that would help our members to be more successful. But we can not do that with flawed legislation and anything that would jeopardize the funding of education in Missouri," said Wagner.??

      The Columbia Chamber describes the centerpiece of the bill as a 50% tax cut, phased in over five years, for businesses that "pass through" their income to the owner's personal return. The bill also would drop the top personal income tax rate by one-half of a percentage point, to 5.5%. The corporate tax rate would fall by 3 percentage points, to 3.25%. Those cuts would be phased in over 10 years.

      The Columbia Chamber fears that that reducing income tax would create a spending gap in the general fund which would adversely affect education funding in Missouri, both K-12 and higher education.

      The Board of Education for Columbia Public Schools has also come out against the veto override.

      On the flip side, the Missouri Chamber says the state must reduce taxes on job creators if it wants to grow.

      Friday they hosted a stop for the Grow Missouri Coalition Grass Roots Tour.

      "Just look around at what is happening in Missouri's backyard and beyond," said Daniel P. Mehan, President of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. "If we want to remain competitive, if we want to grow state priorities like education and roads and public safety, we must invest in our job creators. That's what other states are doing."

      Mehan pointed to tax reduction efforts being taken by six of Missouri's eight surrounding states. Other states that have passed or are considering similar proposals include Ohio, North Carolina, Louisiana, Georgia and Maine.

      Mehan adds, "Our governor is holding our education community hostage and spreading misinformation about this bill. If we are successful in our campaign, Missouri will see - at a minimum - $1 billion in additional revenue over ten years. To claim that this will cause shortfalls is untrue. It's quite the opposite: Missouri can afford to give taxpayers a break."

      Lawmakers will return to work September 11th to consider an override. Republican lawmakers have promised to campaign against any fellow members who do not vote for the override.