Source: US State of Missouri
Legislative Column for October 21, 2020
Amid all the doom and gloom that dominates the news these days, I was relieved to hear a positive report about Missouri’s economy. Recently, the Office of Administration released its September general revenue report, which showed income to the state grew by 3% last month. Generated by sales and income taxes, the general revenue fund makes up about one-third of the state budget, and is closely tied to economic activity.
This latest report is just one more sign our state is recovering from the disruptions caused by COVID-19. A few months ago, the picture looked pretty bleak, especially due to extended tax filing deadlines, which caused 2019 tax payments to arrive after the start of the new fiscal year. As expected, revenues caught up once the filing deadlines passed. Accounting fluctuations aside, there’s plenty of good news, with income and sales taxes showing healthy increases. Unemployment, though still historically high at about 7%, is way below the worst-case projections envisioned in the spring, when forecasters feared Missouri would see joblessness above 16%.
Missouri’s steady march to recovery is so strong the governor has begun releasing funds he withheld just a few months prior. Recently, the governor released more than $130 million in withheld funds, including $38 million of general revenue money. Nearly $100 million of the released funding will go toward education.
Governor Receives Ranking
A recent ranking of the nation’s governors placed Missouri’s chief executive at No. 13 among his counterparts in terms of economic policy performance. The report, released by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), rated governors on a variety of performance metrics. Missouri’s governor ranked first in estate and inheritance tax levies, fourth in overall tax policy, 12th in state spending policy and 17th in economic results.
The report’s authors gave the governor high marks for low spending and pro-growth policies, awarding him four out of five stars overall. ALEC said the state of Missouri had the ninth-lowest unemployment spike in the nation during the first half of 2020.
Finally, I want to implore everyone to vote on Nov. 3. The right to express your view at the polling place is a precious liberty not enjoyed in many places around the world. There’s a lot at stake on the ballot this year. Beside the outcomes of local, state and national elections, voters will decide critical constitutional questions for the state of Missouri. I discussed my support for Amendment 3 in a column I wrote last week, and you can find that online at my Missouri Senate webpage. Regardless of how you vote on any candidate or issue, I hope everyone will do their civic duty and vote. Remember to take your driver’s license, state ID, voter ID card or some other document establishing your residency with you to the polling place.
It is my great honor to represent the citizens of the 33rd Senatorial District. Although the Legislature has adjourned for 2020, I remain your senator throughout the year. If there’s anything that I can do to assist you, please feel free to contact my Capitol office at (573) 751-1882.