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Top Of The Morning News : March 13, 2013

Dan Verbeck

Missouri Senate Passes Tax Overhaul

Over objections from Gov. Jay Nixon, the Missouri Senate has passed a tax overhaul that would cut income taxes by hundreds of millions of dollars annually for residents and businesses. It would also boost sales taxes.

The legislation is promoted by supporters as the most dramatic change to Missouri’s tax policies in decades. It’s prompted by a desire to compete with sweeping income tax cuts in Kansas.

The Republican-led Senate voted 23-11 on Tuesday to send the legislation to the House, where Republican leaders also have proclaimed a desire to pare back the state’s income tax in favor of a higher sales tax.

Rock Road For Missouri Highway  Funding Tax Plan

Some concerns have been raised in the Missouri Senate over a proposed constitutional amendment that would create a temporary one-cent sales tax to fund transportation needs. 

The one-penny sales tax is expected to raise nearly 8 billion dollars over ten years.  All money raised would go directly to Mo-DOT, which is not sitting well with some Senators. 

Republican Kurt Schaefer of Columbia says lawmakers should have at least SOME say into how that money would be spent--“I think Mo-DOT’s done a very good job in recent years of building its credibility…but there simply needs to be some mechanism in there for oversight and accountability, and that’s what we’re working on right now, to see if we can’t get some provisions added in there that would provide greater protections for that taxpayer money.”

The sponsor, fellow Republican Mike Kehoe of Jefferson City, disagrees.  He says the state’s Highways and Transportation Commission, not individual lawmakers, should be ones making decisions on transportation projects. 

Outgoing KCK Mayor Challenges Neighborhood Developers

Kansas City Kansas Mayor Joe Reardon says the challenge in redeveloping his city is to accentuate unique qualities found in each neighborhood.  The Unified Government CEO was delivering his last State of Government  Address  before retiring April 24.  Reardon said his neighborhood concept is a Midwestern thing, “Particularly in a sprawling region like Kansas City, we have a tendency to equate newness with better quality of life.  I think that’s a superficial view of the nature of a neighborhood and it can belie the true dynamic that is occurring. Far too often beauty is not skin deep.”

Reardon said neighborhoods should be allowed to tell the story of who the people are and where they came from.

Reardon’s address noted what he called lowest crime rates in 30 years, economic development on the city’s west side and jobs that are expected to come with it. Read more here.

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