July 9, 2019/Press Release

Governor Parson defends Department of Revenue failure to issue tax refunds in a timely manner. Questions arise over fiscal strategy to trigger tax cuts.

Kansas City, Mo. (July 9, 2019) – As news of the Missouri Department of Revenue’s failure to issue tax refunds in a timely manner mount, Missouri Democrats are raising the possibility that refunds were held back in a failed attempt to trigger Kansas-style tax cuts.

According to a report yesterday evening from Columbia, Mo ABC-affiliate KMIZ, the Department of Revenue is still processing $8.5 million worth of tax refunds for approximately 71,000 taxpayers. Last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the state fell short of the revenue growth needed to trigger the law that reduces the state’s income tax rate if net revenue growth exceeds 1%. 

The question for the Parson administration is whether the slow processing of income tax refunds was designed to hold revenue back in order to trigger an income tax cut ahead of Parson’s gubernatorial campaign launch. Parson’s administration has blamed a new computer system for the delays.

“Parson’s administration has known for months that a new computer system was coming online to process refunds, yet they were totally unprepared for it. Either the administration is incompetent or this is an excuse for a fiscal strategy intended to trigger tax cuts ahead of a campaign launch,” said Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director Lauren Gepford. “If Parson held back tax refunds for tens of thousands of Missouri taxpayers in a failed effort to implement a tax cut then those taxpayers still waiting for a refund deserve accountability.”

Auditor Nicole Galloway has repeatedly raised concerns around the Parson administration’s failure to issue tax refunds in a timely manner. Earlier this year, Galloway called attention to a withholding table calculation that was seemingly designed to capture more revenue from workers’ paychecks as the state struggled to meet its revenue targets.

The continued delays in issuing refunds would seem to continue a pattern of gaming revenue.

Parson says he has “full confidence” in his pick to lead the Missouri Department of Revenue. If so, Missourians should have no confidence in Parson to lead state government.