Revenue isn’t trickling down.
It’s complicated, but every Missourian should know and care about our state budget. It impacts our daily lives and it determines our economic future. Simply put, the budget is a reflection of our shared priorities. Right now, however, our budget is also a reflection of confusion and uncertainty, as we are experiencing an alarming decrease in revenue collections. Here is what we know about our current dilemma and, more importantly, what we do not.
Missouri’s fiscal year begins on July 1 and ends on June 30. As of January 17––halfway through FY19––revenue collection for the state is down 8.76% compared to this time last year. As one of many measures of our state’s fiscal health, such a significant decrease in revenue indicates something is not right. A closer look at the data shows that the biggest contributor to this problem is a 26% decrease in the amount of personal income taxes being paid to date, as compared to last year.
Directly stated, the growing body of evidence suggests Missouri cannot afford any more tax cuts—and that we likely cannot afford those already in effect. Unequivocally, it was fiscally irresponsible to layer multiple tax cuts without ever truly and fully realizing the impact of any one of the bills alone. Still, it is amazing how many legislators continue to talk about the need for additional tax cuts. I will continue to demand that my colleagues pump the brakes on any additional cuts, but sadly, brakes may not be enough if policies already set in motion have us heading straight for a fiscal cliff.
Go. Read the whole thing.