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Bloomberg BNA recently posed a series of tax-centric questions to the Republican and Democrat candidates for governor in Missouri. Below are the responses from Democrat candidate Chris Koster.
Interview by Chris Brown
Chris Koster has been attorney general of the state of Missouri since 2009. Prior to being elected attorney general, he was a state senator from 2005 to 2009, during which time he made news by changing his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, giving up his position as chair of the Senate Republican caucus. Before entering state politics, he served as prosecuting attorney in Cass County, Mo., for 10 years. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri and the University of Missouri School of Law, and received an M.B.A. from Washington University.
Editor's Note: David Turner, Koster's spokesman, provided a single, consolidated answer to five questions that sought Koster's opinion related to priorities on state and local tax issues, hurdles in enacting his tax policy priorities, challenges in the tax and revenue realm facing the state in light of market conditions and whether the state’s tax regime is properly balanced. His statement is below.
Chris Koster’s number one priority as Governor will be to make Missouri a top-ten business friendly state. Throughout his career, he has worked to create a tax climate that keeps the state’s businesses highly competitive. Chris supported the tax cuts of 2014, which once implemented, will bring Missouri tax rates to their lowest levels since 1921.
He also believes businesses should not be subject to different tax rates simply because of how they chose to incorporate. It’s why Chris wants to bring the C-corp rate down to 4.5 percent. Lowering business taxes and streamlining regulations will provide support for entrepreneurs and companies to create good jobs here in Missouri.
Turner’s emphasis on the 2014 tax cuts, which were contained in S.B. 509, highlights a difference between Koster and the figure he is hoping to replace, Gov. Jay Nixon, a moderate Democrat who has tangled with the Republican-dominated Missouri General Assembly over tax and budget policy during his two terms in office. Nixon vetoed the 2014 cuts, arguing that they favored the wealth and were fiscally unwise. In a guest editorial that appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch early in the 2014 session, Koster argued that cutting income tax rates was essential to making Missouri a business-friendly state.
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