The tax bill debate continues as Jones visits Fulton and Nixon travels statewide

   

FULTON, Mo. — House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, stopped in Fulton, Mo., to discuss House Bill 253 on his way to a Wednesday morning Republican leadership meeting at the Capitol. There, Jones chided Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon for “wasting your taxpayer money” and “logging hundreds, if not thousands, of miles” during the summer in traveling around the state arguing for his veto.

Jones cited recently-announced record revenue’s for the state of Oklahoma, which passed a more extreme tax cut bill in recent years, as well as the growth of states like Tennessee (where there is no individual income tax) and Kansas, which recently slashed its taxes and triggered what some politicians have called a “boarder war” of economic activity between the two states.

“Unlike what the governor said, [House Bill 253] is not reckless, it’s not some wild experiment,” Jones said. “That’s a cautious, careful way to do what the rest of the states in this country are doing that are having job growth and improving their economies.”

With Jones at the event was Fulton Republican Rep. Jeanie Riddle, who also supports overriding Nixon’s veto.

Jones also called on citizens to contact not only their local representatives, but the three Democrats who voted for the bill during the spring legislative session as well.

Democrats Steve Hodges of Sikeston, Ed Schieffer of Troy and Jeff Roorda of Barnhart all supported the measure when it originally passed out of the House. Roorda and Schieffer have both announced plans to run for the state Senate and Hodges recently lost by a fairly large margin in the special election for the 8th Congressional District.

“I’d urge you to call those Democrats and ask them if they plan to stand with Missourians,” Jones said. “Do they plan on standing with Missourians and giving you your money back, or do they stand with Governor Nixon?”

Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to the crowd gathered at Greentree Pharmacy in Kirkwood, Mo., Monday afternoon. (photo by Ashley Jost)
Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to the crowd gathered at Greentree Pharmacy in Kirkwood, Mo., Monday afternoon. (photo by Ashley Jost)

The governor toured multiple places during the past few days, discussing the bill, including Warrensburg and Kansas City today and St. Louis, Kirkwood and Cape Girardeau yesterday. Tomorrow he will visit Carthage and Bolivar to do the same.

During his Kirkwood visit Monday at Greentree Pharmacy, Nixon was met with two Republican members of the legislature, Rep. Rick Stream and Sen. Eric Schmitt, both who represent the Kirkwood area. Both legislators were part of the crowd as Nixon discussed the $200 million sales tax increase on prescription drugs — an addition that proponents of the bill say was unintentional. Schmitt, for example, said fixing that mistake would be the first action of the legislature when they head back to Jefferson City in January, which is a sentiment many supporters of the bill have shared as the debate has progressed.

“If your government says, ‘we’re going to raise taxes but in a few months we’ll come back and take care of you,’ be very skeptical,” Nixon told the Kirkwood pharmacy audience.

Schmitt and Stream echoed that the tax cut in the bill would be a first for Missouri in about a century. Additionally, Schmitt expressed concerns with reporters after the event with Nixon speaking at an Autism center in Cape Girardeau earlier on Monday, saying he thinks it was “unconscionable” to “threaten” families with arguments that he doesn’t think adequately exemplify what the bill actually does in terms of phasing in the cut.

Currently, several representatives have expressed concerns about overriding the veto, including Nate Walker, R-Kirksville and Mike Thomson, R-Maryville, as well as the majority of the House Democrats.

Additional reporting by Ashley Jost.

Collin Reischman is the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. To contact Collin, email collin@themissouritimes.com or via Twitter at @CMReischman