Missouri Revenue Numbers Continue to Hold Steady
The state continues to receive encouraging news in regard to economic activity. While general revenue collections were down slightly for the month of August, the state remains on track to collect sufficient revenue to fully fund the Fiscal Year 2022 state operating budget.
The state’s August collections for 2021 came in at $962.2 million which is down slightly from the $991.6 million collected in August of last year. For the fiscal year to date, the state is also down with total collections coming in at $1.66 billion. The state had collected $2.15 billion at the same time last year.
The drop in revenue collection was anticipated because last year’s numbers were inflated as the tax deadline was moved from April to July and many Missourians paid their taxes later than usual. The decrease in this year’s numbers is the result of fewer individual income tax collections and fewer corporate income and franchise tax collections in July and August.
The good news is Missouri continues to see increases in sales and use tax collections, which indicate increased economic activity. For August, sales and use tax collections were up by 29.4 percent. For the fiscal year to date, collections are up by 23.9 percent.
The state budget director for Missouri said, “The Missouri economy is still performing well and revenues are, even though they're down for the year, they're actually pretty strong when you look at them in the right context.”
Missouri Office of Childhood Now Providing Assistance to Children and Families
On August 28 the new Office of Childhood officially began work in Missouri to ensure children and families across the state have better access to more consistent, quality programs and services. The new office was created by an executive order issued by the governor that consolidated several early childhood programs across state government into a single office.
Missouri’s previous early childhood system had been ranked 45th in governance by the Bipartisan Policy Center, which made the system one of the least coordinated in the country. Knowing that early childhood education delivers one of the greatest returns on investment of taxpayer dollars, state leaders sought solutions to strengthen Missouri’s system. The move to one office gives Missouri an improved structure to support, coordinate, and monitor programs and activities, including an enhanced ability to share goals and best practices across programs. The change is meant to promote effectiveness, excellence, and equity for Missouri children.
At the time the new office was announced, Gov. Parson said, “Missouri families deserve the best early childhood system our state can provide. This is also a critical area of workforce development for our state. We must see to it that the workforce of tomorrow starts off on the right foot, and that means better support for Missouri children and their families.”
The Office of Childhood consists of approximately 145 employees across the state. The office has a Fiscal Year 2022 budget of approximately $660 million. For more information on the new office, please visit https://earlyconnections.mo.gov/who-we-are/new-office-childhood.
College Savings Month Kicks Off
September 1 marked the beginning of College Savings Month to encourage Missourians to start saving for college now. State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick has joined with the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) to encourage savings for education.
Treasurer Fitzpatrick said, “Data demonstrates that having an education savings account makes it more likely a child will attend a higher education institution. Data also shows that education influences socioeconomic mobility. This is why I have worked to lower accounts fees and to make MOST 529 as versatile as possible. Regardless of what higher education looks like for you—college, trade school, an apprenticeship—being financially prepared is necessary to avoid burdensome debt down the road.”
In partnership with Sallie Mae and the MOST 529 Education Plan, Treasurer Fitzpatrick and MDHEWD will host a webinar providing information about saving for higher education and finding scholarship opportunities. How to Find Free Money and Save for College will take place on Tuesday, September 21 at 6 p.m. The free virtual event will feature speakers from Sallie Mae, a nationwide consumer banking institution specializing in private student loans, and MOST, Missouri’s 529 Education Plan. Those who wish to participate can register at https://ascensus.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_330RHUExRMSmLeZt5mGd_w.
MOST, Missouri’s 529 Education Plan, is a tax-advantaged savings plan for education expenses. Money in MOST accounts can be used to pay for K-12 tuition and apprenticeships, trade, college, and graduate school tuition and expenses. Contributions are eligible for state tax deductions, which can save families up to $864 a year, and assets in MOST 529 accounts grow tax-free.
More information about MOST 529 can be found missourimost.org. Missourians can also visit the treasurer’s Financial Literacy Portal for information about saving for higher education and paying for higher education. The Financial Literacy Portal can be accessed at https://treasurer.mo.gov/financial-literacy/.
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Missouri State Representative