A ‘Red Print for Missouri’: Repeal taxes, restore fiscal discipline

State government spending in Missouri has increased 90% in the last five years, exploding from $28 billion to $51 billion. This indefensible spending increase was done with the complicity of Jefferson City Republicans, who have supermajorities in both the House and the Senate.

Why did we fight for Republican majorities and a Republican chief executive to watch them grow the size and cost of government as bad or worse than Democrats?

Missouri is blessed by its location in the central U.S., bordering eight states. We have diverse resources, an incredible labor force, and access to ports and waterways that are second to none – with trucking, rail, and air infrastructure that is the envy of other states. We can reach the Midwest, the Northeast, the South and the West like no other state.

Yet, far from being an economic engine, our importance to the American economy is shrinking. Major employers are leaving the state, our population has flatlined, and if demographics are destiny, we are heading to the wrong destination.

I have a vision to turn Missouri around by setting an agenda of growth and opportunity for every Missourian – The Red Print.

Over the course of the campaign, I will announce each of the five planks of The Red Print and lay out my vision for our future.

As governor, I want to fire up our economy and make Missouri an attractive destination for job creators, and a magnet for families and workers looking for a good, affordable quality of life, solid education opportunities and commonsense leadership.

And that starts with overhauling our tax policies and reining in out-of-control government spending.

First, I plan to phase out our state income tax. Some may think that’s radical, but it’s not: nine other states – red and blue – have no income tax, including Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

It can be done.

To accomplish this, we need to examine all of our state revenue sources, and I have already assembled a task force of experts to make recommendations on the best pro-growth strategies to replace income tax revenue, including Grover Norquist with Americans for Tax Reform, Stephen Moore with the Heritage Foundation, Aaron Hedlund with the Show-Me Institute, economist and state tax policy expert Jonathan Williams, Tom Feeney, former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and member of Congress, and the legendary Art Laffer, of the Laffer Center.

Subsidizing people who don’t work, while taxing people who do, is the wrong formula for success. We should be encouraging people to work, and I want a tax code that incentivizes productivity rather than rewarding inactivity.

The safety net will always be there, but the hammock will not.

I also plan to repeal the 12.5-cent gas tax, which is scheduled to increase again in July. This regressive tax disproportionately punishes working people, allows unaccountable bureaucrats to spend the money without accountability, and is frankly unnecessary.

Roads and infrastructure are a foundational responsibility of state government and should be funded using general revenues.

In fact, that’s what taxpayers think they are funding when they pay their state taxes. Instead, we keep creating new government programs or corporate giveaways with their money, then tell them that times are tight, and we need more.

That ends with Gov. Jay Ashcroft.

Another thing that ends with a Gov. Jay Ashcroft is automatic budget increases. I will implement Zero-Based Budgeting and make our departments and agencies justify every dollar of taxpayer money they request in their annual budgets, rather than rely on automatic increases approved by a pliant governor and legislature to use however they see fit.

By phasing out our income tax, repealing the gas tax and cutting government waste, we can put Missouri on a pro-growth fiscal path that encourages productivity, lowers the cost of living, and creates more freedom for Missouri families.

We’ll put an end to accounting gimmicks to balance our budget and give Missourians honest and transparent government.

Missourians are tired of the failures in Jefferson City. They elected Republicans expecting results; instead, they’ve gotten disappointment. I am committed to changing that with a pro-growth economic agenda that makes Missouri the frontline of freedom.

To learn more about The Red Print, visit ashcroftformissouri.com/redprint. 


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