In May, the Missouri General Assembly passed House Bill 253, a tax scheme that will devastate state services such as early childhood and K-12 education. If it had been implemented, the bill would have cost Missourians at least $800 million. The revenue reductions resulting from this legislation would have affected the quality and availability of critical education services.
Missouri schools are already feeling the squeeze from recent budget years. Public schools in the state are underfunded by $620 million and school transportation is underfunded by $200 million. HB 253 would have resulted in additional funding cuts, which would have meant teacher layoffs, overcrowded classrooms, and longer bus rides to and from school. The impact from this bill would have halted technology upgrades, eliminated many after school activities such as sports programs, and limited the variety of classes available to Missouri students including arts, music, and industrial arts. At a time when Missouri should be investing in education in order to ensure our children are competitive in the 21st Century global economy, instead our children would have faced a competitive disadvantage as a result of the state’s disinvestment in their education. House Bill 253 threatened early childhood education as well. Popular programs such as First Steps and Parents as Teachers could have ended up on the chopping block in the near future, stymieing our children’s intellectual growth at their most crucial ages of development. The legislation would also hae likely shelved recent efforts to fund preschool for all children in Missouri.