Nixon: Tax cut bill would harm education, eliminate funding for new Fulton hospital

Jul 30, 2013

With two stops in mid-Missouri Tuesday, Gov. Jay Nixon continued his campaign against a Republican-sponsored bill that would cut the corporate and individual income tax rates. Nixon vetoed the bill earlier this summer. 

Credit File Photo / KBIA

Nixon addressed Missouri school leaders in Columbia Tuesday at a conference hosted by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.  The governor used the venue to continue speaking against a bill that would cut taxes in the state.

Nixon said House Bill 253’s passage would result in cuts of roughly $260 million from funding for public K-12 education in Missouri.  He said the state can’t afford to lose that funding.  The governor recently vetoed House Bill 253 after it passed the state legislature, but Republicans may attempt to override that veto.  For weeks, he’s also been drawing attention to part of the bill that would allow a sales tax exemption for prescription drugs to expire.  Republicans in support of a veto override have said that part of the law could be fixed next year.

“To miss something the first time—everybody does that, Nixon said.  “I mean, that happens to a lot of folks.  But to come back and to vote to override with full intent that what you’re doing is raising taxes on seniors and folks who need prescription drugs, raising taxes on school kids and taking hundreds of millions of dollars out of our state budget—that is an irresponsible act.”

Missouri Budget Director Linda Luebbering said one provision of the bill, the federal Marketplace Fairness Act, is of particular concern to her.  She said that provision could result in cuts up to 450 million dollars from education funding in Missouri by reducing the income tax rate by a half of a percent.  Luebbering said if state lawmakers override the governor’s veto of the bill, it could impact Missouri’s credit rating.

“The three leading rating agencies just recently suggested that they are watching us closely because of House Bill 253 and the potential impact that that one provision could have on our revenue collections,” Luebbering said.

Later, speaking at Fulton State Hospital, Nixon says there would be no money for a new state mental health facility if lawmakers override his veto of tax cuts.

Nixon has frozen $13 million for planning and designing a new facility at Fulton State Hospital, the oldest public mental health facility west of the Mississippi River.

Nixon said the funds could begin flowing if the Legislature sustains his veto of the tax-cut bill.

Lawmakers could hold a special session in September to override Nixon’s veto of the bill.  But on Tuesday, Republican house speaker Tim Jones told St. Louis Public Radio he likely would not bring House Bill 253 up for a veto override unless he was able to generate more support than the effort has now.