Inspired by newspaper editorials calling for the end of corporate welfare, the Missouri House passed a bill that would end the sales tax breaks on supplies enjoyed by those very newspapers, which may or may not be critical of members of the Missouri House, the Springfield News-Leader reports. Newspapers would have to pay taxes on the supplies they purchase and the retail sales they generate, wrote the Hannibal Courier-Post.
The $4 million of so the state would get back would go to fund a recently axed pension plan for the blind. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Ryan Silvey, a KC Republican.
Silvey, who is also the House Budget Committee chairman, said the bill was prompted by editorials, including those published last month in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Kansas City Star, critical of a House budget proposal to cut $28 million currently used to pay for medical services for approximately 2,800 blind Missourians. The money is to be used for higher education.
Silvey said he also focused on the exemption for newspapers because of past editorial stances by some newspapers against special tax breaks for manufacturing and other industries.
“Surely if they think we should raise taxes and get rid of corporate welfare, then they should be first in line,” he said.
Doug Crews, executive director of the Missouri Press Association, said he considered newspapers manufacturers, such as other companies that receive similar tax breaks. David Stringer, publisher of the Hannibal Courier-Post, said ending the tax breaks would harm the newspaper industry.
“The economic impact on the industry would be real and it would be significant,” Stringer said.