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Conservatives wary of Nixon/Kraus tax compromise


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Just hours after details first began to emerge about a tax cut compromise between Gov. Jay Nixon and Republican Sen. Will Kraus, some conservative members of the Missouri legislature began calling the deal a non-starter.

Kraus and Nixon worked out a plan, which involves capping state tax credit programs and cutting one-quarter of a percent in income tax rates. But Nixon has already told Republican lawmakers that he will only sign on to the deal if it includes a fully funded foundation formula and is all contingent on at least $200 million annually in state revenue growth.

Sen. Will Kraus
Sen. Will Kraus

Not long after the plan became public, House Majority Leader, John Diehl, R-Town and Country, took to twitter to criticize the bill.

“This isn’t a meaningful tax cut. Why do politicians think they know how to spend taxpayer $$$ better than taxpayers? #CourageForRealTaxCuts.”

Kraus, who declined to comment at length, rejected Diehl’s premise.

“I look forward to working with the House floor leader and others to put a bill on the governor’s desk that we know he will sign,” Kraus said. “A $400 million dollar tax cut, designed to help every individual taxpayer, is a significant cut.”

Diehl has declined to comment further, but his remarks echo sentiments from at least some of the conservative members of the overwhelmingly Republican legislature. And with Diehl positioned as Speaker of the House elect for 2015-2016, his position in the bill will likely carry some weight.

GrowMissouri, a right-leaning organization backing tax cuts throughout the state. Aaron Willard, the organization’s chief spokesperson, said that while “anything seems possible,” he didn’t believe Kraus’ plan was a home-run.

“Unfortunately, discussing a proposal with one legislator out of 197 and believing you have a compromise continues to show the disconnect between Gov. Nixon and the legislative process,” Willard told The Missouri Times in a statement. “It’s still early in session and I am sure other proposals will come forward and we have just as much reason to believe those will be considered and possibly passed. I mean this is the same Governor that withheld millions from education the last couple years, but now wants to fully fund the foundation formula.”

House Speaker Tim Jones, who spent much of the off-session publicly hammering Nixon on his veto of a tax cut welcomed Nixon’s involvement on the issue, but didn’t comment on Kraus’ plan.

“Gov. Nixon has opposed tax cuts and worked against our plans for tax relief up until yesterday,” Jones said in a statement. “Now the governor apparently wants to provide tax relief for Missourians. That is a flip flop in positions that I welcome and is a good sign for Missouri.”