(From Missourians for Fair Taxation)
(Jefferson City, Missouri) – In a crushing defeat for the “Everything Tax,” a Missouri judge has ruled the proposed constitutional amendment’s ballot descriptions are “insufficient, unfair and prejudicial” because they deceive voters with biased wording about the measure’s devastating cut of $7.5 billion in vital state general revenues.
In her ruling issued Friday afternoon, April 13, Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia S. Joyce ordered Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich to prepare new voter information about the negative financial impact of the proposed “Everything Tax.”
And, Judge Joyce directed that the basic ballot summary of the measure clearly tell voters their “yes” vote will “instruct the legislature” to dramatically raise the state sales tax on just about everything Missouri families buy every day, including a nickel sales tax for every dollar spent on groceries.
In her ruling, Judge Joyce wrote:
“In both the Fiscal Notes and the Fiscal Note Summaries, the Auditor is not informing proposed signers and voters of the true fiscal impact of the measure in an unbiased fashion. The negative impact of the Initiative Petitions could be as much as $7.5 billion, a fact which the Fiscal Notes and Fiscal Note summaries do not include. Indeed, the Auditor incorrectly advises that the negative impact will be limited to $3 billion (in the Fiscal Notes) or $1.5 billion (in the Fiscal Note Summaries). These are significant variations. The Fiscal Notes and the Fiscal Note Summaries are therefore insufficient, unfair and prejudicial.”
“Judge Joyce’s crystal-clear decision is a complete victory for opponents of the ‘Everything Tax’,” said Chuck Hatfield, attorney for Missourians for Fair Taxation, which successfully challenged the ballot language in court. “Judge Joyce agreed with the arguments of Missourians for Fair Taxation that the language being presented to voters is insufficient, unfair, and likely to deceive petition signers and voters.”
“Missourians for Fair Taxation remains committed to reasonable and fair tax reform, including defeating bad proposals like the “Everything Tax” that hurt families, our seniors, and low- and middle-income Missourians. A $7.5 billion cut in Missouri’s critical general revenues would eliminate funding for essential services, from schools to law enforcement to prisons to health and safety programs. Most significantly, Judge Joyce agreed with Missourians for Fair Taxation that the proposed “Everything Tax” isn’t required to close the huge budget gap created by cutting $7.5 billion in general revenues,” said Scott Charton, spokesman for Missourians for Fair Taxation.
Missourians for Fair Taxation (MFT) is a statewide non-partisan, non-profit coalition established to inform citizens about the devastating effects the"Everything Tax" would have on our hometown neighbors, our state and our economy. The Missouri Association of REALTORS, whose 18,000 members comprise one of the state’s largest professional trade associations, launched the coalition after leading the successful 2010 campaign for Amendment 3. Nearly 84 percent of Missouri voters approved Amendment 3 to exempt sales of homes and business properties from the sort of massive sales tax schemes that inspired the “Everything Tax.”
MFT has led opposition to the "Everything Tax" in the courts, in budget impact research, in media coverage and in uniting influential statewide coalition partners, including the Missouri Broadcasters Association, the Missouri Budget Project, the Missouri Health Care Association, the Missouri Municipal League, Missouri Outdoor Advertising Association and the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants.