Missouri House budget committee OKs tax break

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri residents who file income taxes would be eligible for a tax break under a Republican proposal advanced Tuesday.

The House Budget Committee approved the measure, which now heads to the House floor for consideration.

The proposal budgets $1 billion for tax breaks equal to what taxpayers owe the state in income taxes. The tax breaks are capped at $500 for individuals or up to $1,000 for married couples filing jointly.

In practice, if an individual owes $1 in state income taxes, they would be repaid $1. If an individual owes $600 in income taxes, they would be reimbursed $500.

Democrats proposed setting aside $100 million to give onetime $1,000 checks to poor families who have struggled with housing or food insecurity. That proposal has been defeated.

Democratic critics on Tuesday argued that the tax break won’t help the state’s poorest.

“We would rather give $500 or $1,000 to somebody that had $10 million in the bank and isn’t even going to notice it, as opposed to somebody who’s going to spend every penny they get back,” Democratic Rep. Peter Merideth said.

Republican supporters said the measure is about returning some of the state’s surplus revenue to taxpayers.

“This isn’t about those who are impoverished, those who are struggling financially or the wealthy among us…,” Republican Rep. Doug Richey said. “This is about returning dollars to Missouri residents who have actually had a tax bill to pay, less the amount that the state has already given back to them.”