Missouri auditor calls for more tracking of tax breaks

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway on Wednesday said the state doesn't do a good job of tracking the impact of tax breaks that sometimes are pitched as a way to spur the economy.

Legislative estimates of the financial costs and benefits of proposed tax breaks are sometimes inaccurate, according to a report released by Galloway's office. The Democratic auditor added that after lawmakers pass new tax exemptions, the state rarely monitors the actual fiscal impact. Of the 209 sales and use tax exemptions in place as of June 2016, Galloway's office says the Department of Revenue tracks only three.

"I'm not saying that exemptions are bad. I'm not saying that incentives are bad. They can be useful tools," Galloway told reporters in her Capitol office. "But as a taxpayer, we want to know that each one works as it should and as taxpayers we're getting a return on investment."

Galloway recommended follow-ups to legislative estimates and suggested that the Department of Revenue start tracking exemptions.

The Revenue Department in a response included in the audit said it's a good goal to track and report exemptions. But the agency argued that doing so would put a burden on businesses and reporting errors by businesses would likely mean flawed data. The department also said that would require a substantial increase in staffing that's not currently affordable.

Galloway's report comes amid lower-than-expected revenue growth in Missouri that's contributed to a strained state budget. Republican Gov. Eric Greitens also has expressed interest in revamping the state's tax code and tax credits, an issue that could come up when lawmakers return to the Capitol next year.

The audit report also notes that compared to other states, Missouri gives the second-most-generous discount rate to retailers that pay sales taxes on time and is the only state that offers a discount for paying employee withholding taxes on time.

Former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon appointed Galloway to the auditor's office in 2015 after former Republican Auditor Tom Schweich fatally shot himself. Galloway is running for another term in 2018.

You may also interested in

Rio Olympics over, final decision on Brazil president looms

Aug 24, 2016

After the party, the hangover: With the Rio Olympics fading into memory, Brazil returns to longstanding political divisions and prepares for a final Senate vote on whether to permanently oust its embattled President Dilma Rousseff

Global stocks rise as investors weigh future of US rates

Aug 30, 2016

Global stock markets mostly rose on Tuesday as investors weighed the possibility and timing of another U.S. interest rate increase this year

Asian stocks mixed ahead of US jobs data

Aug 31, 2016

Asian stocks are mixed Wednesday in listless trading ahead of jobs data later this week and continued anticipation of higher interest rates in the U.S. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.8 percent to 16,857.07 in morning trading

Broaden News
Search

Manage The Numbers is the world’s fastest-growing finance news website, featuring the latest money and market news, along with in-depth analysis so you can make the best decision.

Contact us: sales@managethenumbers.com

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Name

Email