As the former President and 13 year member of my local school board, Director of the Missouri School Board Association and one of the authors of the financial resources chapter of MSBA/MASA Vision Project, I want to make it clear that Governor Nixon is right on one thing: tax dollars are critical for quality public education. He just has the math upside-down in his misleading attacks on House Bill 253, the historic income tax cut passed by state lawmakers this year that the Governor couldn’t find the courage to sign.
If we fail to move our state forward and do nothing to revamp our archaic tax code, which hasn’t been changed in nearly 100 years, we risk significant loss in population. When people and businesses leave or fail to come to Missouri, we lose current and prospective tax dollars that fund our schools and drive our economy.
I disagree with the Governor’s offensive accusation that any supporter of lower taxes is anti-public education. I have fought for kids and public education my entire professional career, long before I was in politics. As a state representative, I even voted against the Speaker of the House and members of my own party on a few pieces of education issues this year.
If Governor Nixon, or anyone else, wants to question my support for education, those are the votes and issues upon which to grade me. I urge people to give the same level of respect to my colleagues who voted based on the same values on which they campaigned. In addition, the legislature has dealt with declining revenues in the past few years and continued to show growth in its financial support for Elementary and Secondary education. The only person in Missouri Government withholding money from children is Governor Nixon by withholding $400 million from our current fiscal year budget.
I am a fiscal conservative who ran on the platform of lower taxes and limited spending because ideologically, I believe that will help grow the size of the economy, not the size of government.
I had the opportunity, not burden, of being a part of a historic legislature that delivered on those fiscally conservative principles for the first time since Prohibition.
I voted for House Bill 253 this year to lower the income tax rate on all individuals and all job creators in our state. Missouri has approximately $400 million more than it needs to operate, and I think that money should go back to hard-working taxpayers instead of increasing government spending on wasteful programs.
In conclusion, Missouri has two options. We can do nothing and stay 47th in economic growth, or we can advance pro-growth policies in House Bill 253 to lower the penalty on productivity. Remember, we can’t collect taxes from those who aren’t here, so failing to grow Missouri’s economy is failing to realize the most critical problem facing our future in education.
I urge my colleagues to stand strong with me in voting to override, or bypass, the Governor’s veto on House Bill 253 this September to give taxpayers back what they deserve: their money.