Special Interest Tax Breaks a Serious Threat to Conservation, Soil, Water and Parks
September 4, 2014
Jefferson City, MO – September 4, 2014 – In the final hours of the legislative session, the General Assembly passed a series of bills that included a number of sales tax exemptions that would significantly reduce the funding of wildlife conservation, soil, water and state parks. Governor Nixon vetoed the bills, but your voice is needed to help protect the vetoes.
Next week, the General Assembly will convene for a special session to consider overriding the Governor’s vetoes of these bills. Missouri’s outdoor economy depends on sales tax funds to operate. We must not allow these bills to become law.
The Department of Conservation is funded through a one-eighth-of-one-percent conservation sales tax. Soil, water and state parks are funded through a one-tenth-of-one-percent parks sales tax.
These bills contain more than a dozen tax carve-outs and loopholes for special interest groups. The package of special breaks includes new sales tax exemptions for fast food restaurants, large commercial dry cleaners, personal seat licenses at stadiums, and power companies.
Most of these special breaks are sales tax exemptions, which would reduce the number of items that are subject to the conservation sales tax and the parks and soil and water tax, therefore reducing the amount of revenue these voter-approved measures generate.
“For decades, these voter-approved resources for conservation and state parks have helped make Missouri a national leader in wildlife and soil and water conservation and outdoor recreation,” Governor Nixon said. “Unfortunately, the grab bag of sales tax breaks passed by the General Assembly would siphon these resources away from our parks and conservation areas, and redirect them to a select few special interests.”
Projections by Missouri’s Office of Budget and Planning estimate that if the provisions vetoed by Governor Nixon were to become law, over the next decade funding for the Department of Conservation would be reduced by $137.2 million and revenues from the parks and soil and water tax would be reduced by $108.5 million.
“It’s time for the legislature to abandon this ill-conceived approach and commit to sustaining my vetoes of these bills,” Governor Nixon said.
Missouri’s Department of Conservation is arguably the best state wildlife agency in the country. Missouri State Parks are among the most decorated in the country. Missouri was recently voted America’s favorite place to camp and was named the 2013 Best Trails State by American Trails.
When will the General Assembly realize the natural resources of Missouri are a treasure not to be trifled with? The citizens of Missouri must stand against legislative attempts to cripple the funding of conservation and state parks.
Contact your legislators today and let them know you support Governor Nixon’s vetoes of the special interest tax breaks that would reduce natural resource funding by $245.7 million over the next decade.