JEFFERSON CITY -- A TV ad campaign launched in Kansas City aims to convince voters that the time has come to do away with Missouri's income tax.
The ads, funded by a group with ties to retired investor and Republican mega donor Rex Sinquefield, point to the Kansas General Assembly's move earlier this year to slash personal income taxes and eliminate taxes for many small businesses. Businesses will begin to flee Missouri, the ad contends, and take with them the tax revenue needed to fund public services like education.
The group behind the ads is called Save Missouri Jobs. It was set up in September by a nonprofit called Better Government for Missouri, which became well known in Show-Me State politics for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to attack Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder during the Republican primary.
Over the last four years, Sinquefield has donated more than $20 million to local candidates and political action committees. He's been particularly active with ballot initiatives, and is determined to eliminate the state's 6 percent income tax and replace it with a modified sales tax.
He has spent more than $2.5 million on a sales tax initiative that wasn't able to make it on to the 2012 ballot.
Opponents of the idea have argued that the plan would fall short of replacing the state income tax by billions of dollars, leaving a huge hole in Missouri's budget and forcing lawmakers to dramatically cut services.
In April, Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce ruled that the summary that would have appeared on the ballot for the sales tax measure was inadequate. She then rewrote it to say it would cost the state treasury $7.5 billion annually with no guarantee of replacement revenue.