Economic growth and job creation have been top priorities of my administration from Day One. That is why, prior to your vote on Senate Bill No. 26, I wanted to communicate my strong opposition to its inclusion of a large sales tax increase that would fall on all Missourians and disproportionately impact seniors and veterans. My objections to the bill center on two issues:
First, Senate Bill No. 26 would raise taxes on all Missourians and increase the cost of almost everything they buy. Everyday necessities, from clothing to Kleenex, would become more expensive. Families would have to pay more for the same products, putting an additional strain on household budgets. By making it more difficult for all Missourians to make ends meet, Senate Bill No. 26 would hurt families and weaken our economy - without even giving them a say.
Second, Senate Bill No. 26 shifts the tax burden away from corporations and the most affluent onto those who can least afford these added costs. For example, under Senate Bill No. 26, a single mother's school supplies would cost more, while a corporate executive's country club membership would cost less. This shift would hit seniors and veterans living on fixed incomes especially hard. Making a veteran with aches and pains pay more for an aspirin so that an S-corporation can get a tax cut does not reflect our values or our priorities. Giving special breaks at the expense of seniors, veterans and families is the wrong approach to growing our economy.
As Governor, I have focused on maintaining strict fiscal discipline and creating a climate where businesses can grow and create jobs. Missouri now consistently ranks near the top in economic competitiveness and near the bottom in taxes. According to a 2011 report, Missouri has the 44th lowest tax burden in the nation as a percentage of personal income.
Today, our economy is gaining steam. Homebuilding and manufacturing are up, and consumer demand is on the rise. Missouri's unemployment rate has been below the national average for 41 months straight and recently dropped to 6.5 percent, a 52-month low.
Now is the time to build on this strong foundation, not undermine it. I have long opposed schemes like this one that would shift costs onto families because they reflect the wrong priorities and do not work. Putting an additional financial burden on each and every Missourian would threaten the progress we have made and hamper our economic recovery.
I urge you to oppose Senate Bill No. 26 and help keep Missouri moving in the right direction.
Jeremiah W. (Jay) Nixon