Weekly Legislative Update

This week’s legislative update from the Missouri Municipal League:

So far, almost all legislative activity has been at the committee level with only a few bills passed out for floor debate. The only exception to this is a House joint resolution (HJR43) which imposes a cap on state revenue and spending. HJR43 was passed by the House and sent to the Senate. If approved by both chambers of the legislature, the question of imposing these caps will go directly to Missouri voters in November.

Restructuring the various state tax credit programs is high on the agenda of both the Governor and many members of the House and Senate. In his state of the state address, Governor Nixon called on the legislature to enact “comprehensive” reform of the state’s tax credit programs. The Governor would like to see those tax credits that are ineffectual to be “retooled and reformed”.

Several tax credit reform bills (SB472SB531SB561 and SB548) were heard in the Senate Ways and Means and Fiscal Oversight Committee on Thursday. Each bill takes a different approach toward tax credit reform. SB472 and SB531 apply any increased revenue derived from tax credits to decreasing the corporate income tax, whereas SB548 and SB561 establish sunset provisions on tax credits. A number of witnesses, including League staff, testified in opposition to these bills. No one testified in support of the tax credit reform bills.

Committee hearings will continue next week. Only a few bills of interest to municipal officials have been scheduled for a hearing. The Senate General Laws Committee will hear two bills regarding “Right to Work”. These bills (SB438SB547) prohibit employers from requiring employees to become or refrain from becoming a member of a labor union. Related bills (SB435SB553) will be heard in the Senate Small Business Committee which will prohibit pubic employees from withholding union dues from employee paychecks.

The pace of the legislature will quicken with each passing week. With a number of bills impacting municipalities waiting in the wings, the pace of the municipal agenda will certainly increase.

This update comes from Richard Sheets, Deputy Director of the Missouri Municipal League.

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About Antonio D. French

Antonio French is a St. Louis City alderman representing the 21st Ward. He is also a writer and political consultant. He lives in the O'Fallon neighborhood with his wife, baby and two dogs. You can follow Antonio on Twitter: @AntonioFrench

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