JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Bob Holden comes to Columbia today to seek input on his plan for increasing corporate taxes.
Holden spokeswoman Mary Still said the governor especially wants to hear from "people who feel others are getting a break they're not getting."
Chris Kelly, another spokeswoman for Holden, said Holden will be unveiling more ways in which he thinks the state can "close tax loopholes" to bring in revenue. Holden is calling his approach to budgeting a "fair share budget plan," saying that some corporations with out-of-state bases avoid paying the same taxes as other Missouri businesses.
"Closing these loopholes could save the state $70 to $100 million," Kelly said.
But Dan Mehan, president of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, says Holden hasn't made a strong case yet.
"The only plan we've seen to date is to increase taxes by $100 million to address a shortfall of $500 million," Mehan said. "People end up paying more taxes, and they're calling it 'savings.' They haven't even told us their whole plan."
Don Laird, president of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, said he is interested to see what the governor has to say.
"If there are these loopholes, you wonder what they are and why they haven't been closed before," Laird said. "I really don't know what he's talking about."
Laird said funding for the University of Missouri should be a prime concern raised at today's meeting.
"[The governor] talks about education a lot, but not necessarily higher education," Laird said, adding that he is concerned about "people's perceptions that Missouri is a good place to do business."
Laird linked education and a well-trained work force to economic development.
"Columbia, like other communities, is impacted by a lack of state funding," Laird said.
Holden's office promised that he would be present for the entire meeting, which should last about two hours. In his last such meeting in September, he spoke to cabinet members and legislators but left immediately. He did not stay to hear other presenters or to dialogue with audience members.
State budget director Linda Luebbering will also be on hand when the governor makes remarks at 3 p.m. in the Friends Room of the Columbia Public Library on Broadway. Following budget presentations, citizens should be able to voice their concerns, Still said.