Tax Rates: How Missouri Really Stacks Up
With the passage of the “Broad-Based Tax Relief Act of 2013,” opponents of tax cuts are wasting no time blasting it. One of their chief claims is that if tax rates are so important to economic growth, then Missouri should be booming because of our already (supposedly) low tax rates.
Does Missouri really have low tax rates? The truth is, it kind of depends. Missouri has higher tax rates than its neighbors in some areas and lower rates in others. This matters because not all taxes have an equal impact on a state’s economic growth. Income taxes harm an economy more than a sales tax does. Thus, all other things being equal, a 7 percent sales tax rate would be less damaging to a state’s economy than a 7 percent top income tax rate. Missouri has a higher individual income tax rate than most of its neighbors. On the other hand, its state sales tax rate is lower than most of its neighbors.
Tax cuts are not everything. With Missouri’s income tax rates higher than most of its neighbors, there is a real need for it to stay competitive. Missouri cannot afford to do nothing. The “Broad-Based Tax Relief Act of 2013” is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction, and contrary to what its opponents say, it is necessary.