Tax Troubles in Missouri
With just a month to go before the deadline for Missourians to pay their income taxes, the state’s embattled director of the Department of Revenue is departing under a cloud, the Post-Dispatch has learned.
Joel Walters, who was brought to Missouri to run the taxing agency in 2017 by former Gov. Eric Greitens, was replaced Friday by Gov. Mike Parson. Walters weathered months of tough questioning from lawmakers over his role in altering the state’s withholding tables after the federal tax cut went into effect last year.
Walters, who earned $128,200 in 2018, was not available Thursday, an agency official said.
Walters testified several times to the Legislature that the state’s withholding tables didn’t correctly account for the standard deduction — the amount of income taxpayers can subtract before income tax— in calculating the federal income tax deduction. Walters said the withholding error had been discovered in September after existing for at least 15 years.
Walters ordered changes to the tables that he believed would reduce the impact of taxpayers withholding too much. The change went into effect in October 2018.
In February, he acknowledged that it wasn’t an old error, but a mistake on his part.
This was a $365 million mistake.
This week’s revelations strongly suggest that the Parson administration tried to downplay their income tax fiasco as long as possible. The administration has offered conflicting stories, withheld information, then accused others of playing politics. Taxpayers were already in for a surprise on their tax bills, and this cover up is just the latest surprise. Lawmakers must now get to the bottom of whether the administration has been truthful about their revenue projections as they finish work on the budget.
House Minority Leader Quade and our legislative Dems aren’t going to let the Director’s resignation absolve the Parson administration of their responsibility in this entire debacle.
And as the Missouri General Assembly breaks for their annual, week-long spring recess, the KC Star has accurately noted that the honeymoon period for Parson is over. With very little in the way of accomplishments so far, the divisions among the Governor and his members of his own party worsen.
Upcoming Club Meetings and Events:
Heartland Alliance for Progress: Monday, March 25th 5:15pm at Californo's (4125 Pennsylvania, KCMO). Regional Initiatives to Address Global Warming featuring Mike Kelly, Mayor of Roeland Park, KS; Lindsey Constance, Shawnee, KS City Council Member; and Dennis Murphey, Chief Environmental Officer, the City of Kansas City, MO.
Rep. Jerome Barnes Town Hall: Raytown Wellness Center (10301 E 350 Highway) Tuesday, March 18th 6:00-7:30. Specific topics will include medical marijuana and REAL ID.
Raytown Democratic Association: monthly meeting Thursday March 21, 6pm dinner, 7pm meeting. Las Chili's, 6210 Raytown Trafficway. Most Raytown municipal candidates will be present to speak about the upcoming election.
United Eastern Democrats: monthly meeting March 27th, 7pm at Courthouse Exchange (113 W Lexington Ave on the Independence Square). Social hour at 6pm. Guest speaker is Geoff Gerling, JCDC Executive Director to discuss 2020 planning.