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Distressed at attempt to nix MOST tax break

To the editor:

There is a bill pending in the Missouri House that would kill the current tax break for Missouri's college savings 529 plan.

The Senate has passed it and the House is considering it this week. Under current law, Missourians can shield up to $8,000 a year from state income taxes when they save money in the Missouri Saving for Tuition program — MOST for short.

With the legislative session ending soon, we may not have time to provide input before the House acts on the version of the bill passed by the Senate.

I know from experience how important it is to support education for my loved ones and find it hard to believe that any elected representative would weaken Missouri's quality existing 529 savings plan, and passage of this bill surely will.

First it is hard to find extra money to save in this downturn economy.

Personally, without the Missouri tax break, it will be even more difficult for me to save for my grandchildren's education.

Then it is extremely difficult to decide how or where to save for education support with complexities of considerations that are beyond my ability to decide.

Missouri's existing program was a godsend in making that decision easy and is touted as being a good 529 plan set up for the less affluent of us who want to support our children's education.

Who and why would any elected Missouri senator or representative support such a bill that has to have a significant adverse impact on our ability to save for our children and grandchildren's education? I plan on asking my senator and representative that question.

Sen. Anita Yeckel, I understand you have voted for it. Would you please explain your position?

If this bill passes, you may want to get an answer to that question also, before it is time for us to vote again.

Partisan politics are usually not in the best interest of us citizens. Nor is the undue influence of such lobbies as bankers and stockbrokers.

The Senate approved the measure, House Bill 73, on a primarily party-line vote of 22-10.

Here's how senators from the St. Louis area voted:

For the bill: Jon Dolan, R-Lake St. Louis; Mike Gibbons, R-Kirkwood; John Grie-sheimer, R-Washington; Chuck Gross, R-St. Charles; Harry Kennedy, D-St. Louis; John Loudon, R-Ballwin; and Anita Yeckel, R-south county.

Against the bill: Joan Bray, D-University City; Rita Days, D-Bel-Nor; Pat Doughertty, D-St. Louis; Wayne Goode, D-Pasadena Hills; and Steve Stoll, D-Festus.

Roy Cottrell


Editor's note: The bill that Mr. Cottrell refers to in his letter was not approved before the Legislature adjourned last week.

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