The Star’s editorial on Missouri’s budget and tax relief was misleading (8/7, Opinion, “Time to serve up the details on Missouri health care”).
The main beneficiaries of our tax cuts are seniors and families. We ended double-taxation of Social Security and allowed families to deduct the cost of their health insurance premiums. The business tax relief we provided eliminated sales tax on manufacturing to protect manufacturing jobs.
I do not view tax cuts as a loss to government. This is the people’s money, not the state’s.
The editorial cited projections from the liberal Missouri Budget Project, asserting a shortfall by 2010. But the projections include non-mandatory spending and overestimate the “cost” of the federal economic stimulus. The calculations assume lower-than-average revenue growth and smaller-than-expected amounts from lapsed funds that carry to future years.
The budget we inherited in January 2005 was an insolvent wreck, with a deficit of $1.1 billion. The budget I leave the next governor will be balanced. We just posted a third consecutive surplus with an ending cash balance of $833 million.
If Missouri follows the lead of liberals by dramatically increasing welfare spending, the state will eventually be driven to bankruptcy or a tax increase. If we continue on the path of fiscal responsibility, Missouri’s budget will remain strong.
Gov. Matt Blunt