Missouri Treasurer to Praise GOP Tax Plans in DC Trip Thursday, Will Push for Quick Passage

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.–Missouri’s state Treasurer will ask for quick movement on tax plans currently in Congress when he meets with President Trump’s administration Thursday.

Republican Eric Schmitt, who authored two tax cuts while a member of the Missouri legislature, likes both measures currently being marked up in Washington.

He referred to an analysis from the conservative-leaning Tax Foundation when praising both the House and Senate plans in a Wednesday news conference.

The organization’s study concludes 18,000 new jobs would be created in Missouri over ten years, while a middle-class family would gain an additional $2,400 a year through the tax cuts.

Schmitt defended the Congressional plan in both houses to nearly double the standard deduction, which if applied at the state level, could blow a $900 million hole in tax collections. He claimed it’s impact on the state budget is unknown, but said any shortfall would be offset by economic growth.

Later Thursday, Missouri’s Democratic U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill lambasted Schmitt for his comment during a conference call with reporters.  “I’m pretty sure that is a growth level that isn’t realistic,” said McCaskill.  “That’s is a cavalier answer that, frankly, doesn’t get at the seriousness of the issue.” The standard deduction in Missouri is, by law, the same as the federal standard deduction.

Schmitt thinks passing a tax package by the end of the year needs to be a top priority for the Republican led Congress.  He said President Reagan’s 1986 tax plan led to an economic boon, and claims there would be similar gains if a bill is passed in 2017.

Notably, Reagan signed bipartisan legislation into law more than 10 months after it was introduced.  The current blueprints in Congress would have to be crafted in less than half that time to meet Schmitt’s deadline.

Also, so far, the plans have received little if any bipartisan support.  Democrats are especially upset with a provision Republicans added late Wednesday which would repeal the Affordable Care Act mandate in order to free up more money to cut taxes.

Schmitt is scheduled to meet cabinet members, including Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, as well as the National Economic Council Thursday.

He said he will be joined by other state treasurers in the meeting, including Idaho’s Republican Treasurer Ron Crane.  He notes the trip is the result of outreach from the White House to state financial officers who have experience, as well as an interest in tax policy.

Thursday’s brief one-day excursion will mark at least the third trip to Washington this year for Schmitt.  He was in the nation’s capital to meet with the National Republican Senate Committee in July to discuss a possible challenge next year to McCaskill before opting not to run for the Senate.  Schmitt was also in Washington this year for a meeting of the National Association of State Treasurer’s.

He said Thursday’s trip would not be funded by taxpayers.

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