As the Missouri General Assembly starts the 2010 session, one issue seems to be off the table: tax increases. 
In a recent speech, Speaker Ron Richard said, “I will commit to you one thing: we must NOT and will NOT raise taxes on working Missourians.”  This is a commendable statement.  Tax increases are the wrong idea at all times, but Speaker Richard understands that especially in these economic times a tax increase would be even worse. 
Senate President Charlie Shields has also declared that “We will have to make tough decisions to fund our priorities without a tax increase. And hear me, we will not raise taxes.”  The Senate President’s statement was also commendable.
Americans for Tax Reform encourages Speaker Richard and Senate President Shields to continue standing strong against any and all tax increases as the session moves forward.  ATR also encourages them and their colleagues to sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, making a commitment in writing to the people of Missouri that they will “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”    
To Missourians, this should be a relief that the legislative leaders will not be seeking higher taxes.  Additionally, Missourians may see more business if Kansas’s Governor Parkinson has his way and raises taxes.  At the same time, Kansans on the border may be relieved that Missouri is avoiding tax increases, some may be willing to continue driving across the border to lower sales and cigarette taxes.
As mentioned earlier this week, Kansas Governor Mark Parkinson is interested in raising cigarette taxes and the sales tax, raising the cost of living for the average Kansan. See this article from the Hays Daily News published yesterday. Some Kansas business owners have expressed their discontent with the proposals the Governor’s tax increases. They understand how business leaves when taxes go up. They understand that customers may decide to shop in neighboring Kansas. 
Bottom line: Missouri’s economy will profit either way (there sales tax and cigarette taxes are already lower than neighboring Kansas).  For the sake of Kansans, hopefully their Governor will lose this fight.