The Missouri Public School Advocates is urging state lawmakers to sustain Governor Nixon’s veto of HB 253 and to abandon any future plans to reduce Missouri’s income tax rates.
According to Gary Sharpe, President of Missouri Public School Advocates, “If low taxes were the major criterion for attracting corporations and new jobs to Missouri, businesses would be falling all over themselves to locate in our state. Missouri already has one of the lower composite tax rates for business in the nation.”
Sharpe pointed out that 85 to 90 percent of Missouri school age children are dependent on the public schools for their basic education and that reducing state revenues by 700 million to 900 million dollars over the next ten years is certain to impair the ability of Missouri public schools to be competitive in attracting high quality teaching candidates and paying for vital programs for kids.
“People like taxes to be kept reasonably low,” Sharpe said, “but not to the extent that vital services like quality schooling cannot be provided.”
According to Missouri Public School Advocates data, Missouri is a state whose foundation formula is presently underfunded by an estimated 620 million dollars. Teacher’s salaries recently ranked 47th, 49th, and 46th in three consecutive years, and the state percentage of total public school funding (state plus local) places Missouri 49th. The state constitution lists funding of the public schools as the most important state obligation, other than payment of debts.
Sharpe maintains that, if HB 253 becomes law, continuing the high quality performance of Missouri Public Schools will be imperiled.