Missouri State Capitol

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Missouri Revenues Down $460M Compared to Last Year

"My constituents are going to be left holding the bag for a $500 million hole that's been left in our budget."

January 25, 2019 - 7:37 am
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Department of Revenue Director Joel Walters is blaming lagging revenue collections so far this year on a tax withholding error by his agency.

Missouri is down about $460 million in net revenue collections this fiscal year compared to last, according to the latest data available. Most of the drop in is attributable to a dip in individual income tax collections, which are down about $476 million compared to the same time last year.

Walters told the House Budget Committee Wednesday that the withholding mistake is the issue, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The error meant employers didn't take enough money out of worker paychecks throughout the year, so employees will have to foot a larger share of their tax bill when they file their taxes this year.

Walters said state revenues will grow as people file taxes and said he still expects the state to meet the revenue growth projections needed to keep this year's budget balanced.

``I am confident of that,'' he told lawmakers.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Hegeman on Thursday described the revenue dip as ``disconcerting,'' but he also said he expects taxpayers will make up the difference later.

But lawmakers have raised concerns about taxpayers getting an unexpected bill this year because of the mistake.

"My constituents are going to be left holding the bag for a $500 million hole that's been left in our budget,'' Senate Democratic Minority Leader Gina Walsh said. ``Will we make it up? I don't know, but there's going to be a lot of Missourians writing checks.''

Democratic House Minority Leader Crystal Quade proposed legislation that would give taxpayers who file on time but owe less than $200 an extended deadline of June 15 to pay. Her bill has not yet received a hearing.