JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Lawmakers in the capital city are discussing sports betting again, but the governor is dashing any hopes of legalization during the special session.
A hearing was held Monday afternoon on a bill to legalize sports betting. House lawmakers reintroduced the bill after it died during this year's regular legislative session.
The new bill was introduced by Rep. Dan Houx (R-Warrensburg). It addresses the criticism of past proposals by creating a commission to assess the psychological damage caused by compulsive gambling. Houx's bill imposes a 10% tax on gambling sites that would contribute to public education in Missouri.
Kansas successfully legalized sports betting this year and people there are now able to place bets on their favorite teams.
Supporters include nearly every major league sports team in the state. They say it would bring more revenue to the state and detract from illegal gambling.
There was no one in opposition of the bill at the hearing, but one person may block it from going any further. Despite many lawmakers' enthusiasm for the idea, Gov. Mike Parson has no plans to extend the call for a special session to include sports betting.
A spokesperson for Parson's office said, "Sports betting is clearly beyond the call and does not relate to" the governor's "topics in the call. I do not anticipate the call being expanded to include sports betting during special session."
Some lawmakers suggest they somehow work sports betting into a tax cut bill to make it fit within the call for the special session. The special session was called to cut income taxes and extend agricultural tax credits -- lawmakers can only pass bills relating to those two things.
Senators made progress Monday on coming up with a final plan on income tax cuts. Thirteen bills were up for discussion during a committee hearing. Five passed, and debate with the full Senate could start as soon as Tuesday.
Parson vetoed a bill this summer that would only extend agricultural tax credits for two years. He said he wants to extend them for at least six more years.
The governor also vetoed a tax rebate designed to give $500 back to single-filers in Missouri and $1,000 back to joint-filers. Parson said he wants permanent tax relief. Parson's plan would lower the top tax bracket rate from 5.3% to 4.8%, with Parson saying it will save Missourians more than $700 million per year.
Supporters say this would make Missouri more competitive with states that have little or no income tax, such as Texas or Florida, when recruiting workers.
However, opponents say cutting income tax does not help those on fixed incomes, such as retired people.
The next step is for the full Senate to vote on a plan and then send it to the House of Representatives.