JEFFERSON CITY • The “dark money” nonprofit formed by allies of Gov. Eric Greitens has launched a 30-second television ad to promote his recently released tax overhaul proposal.
Greitens, a Republican, is featured in the ad, which provides a thumbnail sketch of how the $787 million tax cut will work.
“His working families tax cut plan will put more money in your pocket,” the ad says. “His bold conservative plan will cut taxes for 97 percent of Missourians.”
As a 501(c)4 advocacy group under federal Internal Revenue Service rules, A New Missouri does not have to disclose its donors, how much it spends or what it spends money on.
Greitens campaign adviser Austin Chambers put the total cost at $1 million, with ads running on television, radio and digital platforms.
Greitens wants to reduce the state’s top individual income tax rate by 10 percent and reduce the corporate income tax rate by nearly one-third.
The plan would cut income tax rates for most taxpayers, but it also would eliminate deductions and discounts that many individuals and businesses use to lower their tax bills.
The governor says the plan is revenue neutral, which means it would not force him and lawmakers to cut spending to offset the cuts, but preliminary fiscal analyses show it could reduce state revenue by as much as $38.4 million per year.
While the new ad is taking his message to the people, reaction to the tax plan from state lawmakers has been lukewarm.
On Thursday, Senate President Ron Richard, R-Joplin, again sounded a negative note about the proposal, saying the state cannot weather more cuts to higher education or other programs.
“The governor’s tax plan I don’t think is valid,” Richard told reporters. “It’s got some holes in it. I don’t believe it is revenue neutral.”
Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Brown of Rolla also gave the plan a thumbs-down.
“I kind of question the revenue neutral side,” Brown said, adding the measure might not be taken up by the full Senate this year.
Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors, also raised concerns about the plan.
“It’s vague. It’s not very clear,” she said Thursday.
The new ad comes after the rollout of the proposal hit a number of speed bumps. Greitens had been scheduled to announce the plan on a statewide tour two weeks ago, but the fly-around was canceled after the governor admitted that he had an extramarital affair in 2015.
Greitens denied allegations he had threatened to blackmail the unidentified woman and spent most of that week behind closed doors.
The governor’s tax plan would reduce the top individual income tax rate to 5.3 percent from 5.9 percent. It would create a nonrefundable state tax credit for low-income workers that he says would essentially eliminate income taxes for 380,000 people.
For businesses, he would cut the corporate tax rate to 4.25 percent from 6.25 percent, giving Missouri the second-lowest corporate rate in the nation.
To keep the plan from zapping state revenues, the blueprint would eliminate incentives for businesses to pay sales taxes quickly and pare back state income tax deductions based on federal tax payments. It also would require Missourians to pay sales taxes on online purchases.