Missouri public school funding could take huge hit with new tax bill

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by Russell Kinsual / News 4 and Dan Greenwald / KMOV.com

KMOV.com

Posted on April 23, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 24 at 7:14 AM

(KMOV.com) – A local school district told News 4 that if a recent proposal to cut taxes in Missouri becomes law, it will have to make difficult budget cuts.

The Missouri Legislature recently passed a bill that would cut the income tax for many earners from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and could allow some people to take a 25 percent deduction on business income that is reported as personal income. Some estimates have said it will cost the state $625 million in revenue annually.

Supporters claim the tax cuts would help Missouri compete for jobs. Gov. Jay Nixon has threatened to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk.

The Missouri School Boards Association estimates the tax cut could costs public schools $233 million in state funding. The Affton School District told News 4 the tax cuts would force them to make cuts that would negatively affect students.

“75 percent of our funding goes for salaries, then we have to turn the lights on, we have to put fuel in the buses. There's not a lot of wiggle room where we can make cuts that doesn't affect programming,” Affton Superintendent Dr. Steve Brotherton said.

It is estimated that the tax cuts would reduce funding to the Affton School District by $619,000. Other districts could be hit even harder.

"What's going to cause Missouri to be better?” Brotherton said. “Is it a cut to taxes that will allow our economy to grow or are we going to invest in our students that are our future entrepreneurs, our future engineers? I'm betting on our students."

The state representatives who represent the Affton School District voted against the bill, but those who represent nearby districts supported the measure. One supporter said that education funding would not suffer.

John Diehl-R, Town and Country, told News 4 the proposal will not have a negative impact on education funding because the tax cuts would be phased in and will only kick in only if state revenues increase by $150 millon.

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