Letter to the Editor

State should raise taxes

At the time I am writing this letter the Missouri Legislature is in the process of creating a budget for Fiscal Year 2021. It is not an easy task. Due to the declining economy daily projections show tax revenue is down 5.2%, or about $400 million, compared with the same time last year. As a result the budget that passed the Missouri House of Representatives contains $700 million less than what Gov. Parson proposed in January.

Some noteworthy items are:

* There are no tax or fee hikes.

* Funding of two and four year colleges is reduced by 10%. This will amount to a $36.5 million reduction in the appropriation for the University of Missouri system.

* Fifty-five million dollars, that had been earmarked for bridge repair, is cut from the Department of Transportation budget.

* Missouri state employees, who are very poorly paid, will not get any pay increase.

I think this situation is unacceptable. For example, before the recent recession, the Department of Transportation estimated that 20% of its workforce was on food stamps.

Providing for a high quality education is a critical investment in the future of our state. Our schools are the most powerful engines of social mobility we have.

In my opinion there are two things we need to do. Collect taxes on purchases made over the internet and increase the state income tax on both individuals and corporations. These actions are not pleasant, but they are necessary.

JOHN PIEPHO, Cape Girardeau