Tax increases for seniors, tax cuts for fantasy sports. Your Legislature at work.

Last week the Missouri House of Representatives, in keeping with the state’s motto of “the well-being of the people is the supreme law,” voted to pass a budget that whacks $56 million in annual property tax credits for 105,000 seniors and disabled persons who rent their homes.

This happened Tuesday, the day after the same Missouri House voted to cut the tax rate paid by operators of “fantasy sports” companies. Instead of paying 11.5 percent of net revenue, they’d pay only 6 percent. Small companies also would get a break on licensing fees.

This would cost the state about $342,000 in tax revenue, not nearly enough to cover the $56 million cost of extending the property tax credit for those 105,000 elderly and disabled renters. But it speaks to priorities.

 At a time when the state faces a $572 million budget shortfall, when money is so tight that senior citizens and disabled persons are taking it in the shorts, the Legislature is still passing out corporate tax breaks. It’s like an addiction.

And not to corporations that provide good jobs, nor to farmers who grow our food, but to people who have a couple of computers and run what are essentially bookmaking operations. They take money from one group of players and give it to another group of players and scrape off a taste for their trouble.

Whenever the Legislature passes out a tax break, they claim it’s to encourage “small business,” though the big boys save most of the money. The Legislature decided that 11.5 percent was enough, and the industry was happy to have it. The happiness lasted one year until, like the casinos did once their foot was in the door, they came back for less. Hence House Bill 502.

(Excerpted from Horrigan, St. Louis Today 4/9/17)