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Politics

Tax Increase Proposals

The Missouri Policy Group is looking for tax increase proposals that voters will support. Among their ideas: raising the sales tax by one penny for three years. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports. THE GROUP IS COMPRISED MAINLY OF LOBBYISTS FOR THE HEALTH CARE INDUSTRY. THEY SAY STATE REVENUES ARE SO LOW, CRITICAL STATE SERVICES RELATED TO HEALTH CARE AND EDUCATION ARE UNDERFUNDED.

THAT'S WHY THEY'RE PUTTING TOGETHER TWO INITIATIVE PETITIONS THAT WOULD AMEND THE CONSTITUTION.

THEY'VE ALREADY FILED ONE PETITION WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE...IF APPROVED BY VOTERS, IT WOULD EMPOWER BUREAUCRATS TO RAISE THE SALES TAX WHEN STATE REVENUES FALL BELOW A CERTAIN THRESHOLD.

FRANC FLOTRON IS A LOBBYIST FOR THE MISSOURI HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION.

HE EXPLAINS HIS GROUP WANTS VOTERS TO CONSIDER THIS PROPOSAL...

RIGHT NOW, THE STATE IS BARRED FROM IMPLEMENTING A LARGE TAX INCREASE WITHOUT FIRST GOING TO THE VOTERS FOR APPROVAL.

AND FOR THOSE VOTERS WHO FEEL UNEASY ABOUT HANDING OVER THEIR CONTROL OVER TAXES, FLOTRON SAYS THE PROPOSAL HAS SEVERAL SAFEGUARDS.

AND IF THIS IDEA DOESN'T SEEM PALATABLE, FLOTRON AND HIS FELLOW LOBBYISTS HAVE ANOTHER PROPOSAL FOR VOTERS TO CONSIDER...INCREASING THE SALES TAX BY ONE CENT FOR THREE YEARS.

BUT JUST LAST WEEK, BEFORE FLOTRON'S GROUP MADE ITS PROPOSALS PUBLIC, REPUBLICAN SENATOR GARY NODLER TOLD K-S-M-U HE DIDN'T THINK VOTERS WOULD SUPPORT A TAX INCREASE.

NOT TOO MANY YEARS AGO, FRANC FLOTRON MIGHT HAVE MADE THAT SAME ARGUMENT...HE TOO WAS A REPUBLICAN IN THE STATE SENATE UNTIL TERM LIMITS ENDED HIS TIME IN OFFICE.

FLOTRON ACKNOWLEDGES SOME PEOPLE MAY BE SURPRISED THAT HE'S BACKING THESE TAX INCREASE PROPOSALS.

FOR NOW, FLOTRON SAYS THE MISSOURI POLICY GROUP IS WAITING TO SEE WHICH IDEA TAKES HOLD--A 3-YEAR ONE CENT SALES TAX INCREASE OR AN AUTOMATIC SALES TAX HIKE WHEN REVENUES FALL.

HE SAYS WHICHEVER PLAN GENERATES THE MOST SUPPORT WILL BE THE ONE HIS GROUP WILL TRY TO GET ON THE AUGUST BALLOT NEXT YEAR.

I'M MISSY SHELTON FOR K-S-M-U NEWS.