Call it what you want, but here is the undeniable fact: Missouri is in a fiscal crisis. Missouri’s revenue is growing at a much slower pace than projected when the General Assembly adopted the budget last year. Gov. Nixon has already withheld $200 million this fiscal year and, barring a miracle, it appears that Gov.-Elect Greitens will be forced to withhold another sizable chunk. That hurts. Cutting state funding midway through the fiscal year is incredibly painful. More than likely, K-12 will feel some of this pain. That is the short-term outlook.

Unfortunately, the long-term outlook is not any better and could potentially be even worse. One significant reason for this can be traced back to a bill passed in 2015. Senate Bill 19 from 2015 has essentially eliminated income tax on most C corporations.

This bill was not “sold” as an elimination of income tax on big corporations bill — in fact, the fiscal note attached to the bill was only $15.2 million. However, the actual effect of the fiscal impact of this piece of legislation will be in the range of $200 million. Corporate tax receipts dropped by approximately $155 million last year and are on track to eclipse that amount this year.

To add to this pain, it is likely that the SB 509 tax cuts will go into effect next fiscal year, triggering another huge round of tax cuts next year. In public education, we understand full well the “do more with less” mantra. We live it. That’s why teachers in Missouri spend an average of $500 from their own personal bank accounts on classroom supplies every year, as one example. We have cut out the fat (public education had little fat to begin with), the muscle, the tendons and now we’re gnawing on the bone. I don’t understand the “accepted fact” by policymakers that private industry needs money to succeed, but public entities do not.

We have no problem doling out hundreds of millions of dollars in income tax cuts and record-setting tax credits to private industries, while gutting funding for our foundational services, such as public education.

Melissa Randol is executive director of the Missouri School Boards’ Association.

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