I was at the Farm Bureau legislative day back in February when Governor Parson threatened to veto a MASBDA bill that wasn’t clean or wasn’t the six years that the program needs to be most effective and efficient.
Well, most folks thought that he wouldn’t really veto an ag bill.
Most folks were wrong.
It was the kind of thing John Dutton would have done.
Friday he vetoed the ag bill and three others while saying that he will call a special session this fall on the MASBDA bill and a tax cut.
Here are the four vetoes
SB 724 – This was Senator Eigel’s St. Charles County property cut tax bill. From the veto message it looks like this bill won’t become law during the Parson administration.
HB 1667 – Rep. Christophanelli’s Kratom bill. Seems like the Kratom bill could see some of the Governor’s relatively minor objections met and passed next session. I’m not totally clear on his objections to this bill. At the press conference he mentioned something about the FDA.
HB 2090 – Rep. Smith’s tax rebate bill. This was a major house priority that the senate took in trade for a pretty big hand in the budget and spending the federal funds. The Governor never liked the proposal, and with $500 million appropriated and the rules of how the program would divey out the money, it would mean that the vast amount of Missourians wouldn’t receive anywhere near the $500 that many promised. The best guess is that most Missourians would have received around $200-$300, and then blamed the Governor for what they were shorted.
HB 1720 – Senator Bean and Rep. Pollitt’s The MASBDA bill. This will be the big one. All of the ag groups wanted a six year MASBDA, but most of the ag groups were alright with getting the two years restarting the program with an eye toward a six year extension next session. Most other economic development programs are set at six years. Most all of the ones that benefit the urban areas are at six years. The Governor made a pretty strong case that ag programs that benefit rural Missouri should be set at six years too.
The bottom line is that everyone knows the program is the most effective for the AG community and the state at six years. Governor Parson threatened a veto of a two year program and today he followed through on it.
Now the special session
How would a deal work? The word on High Street is that the general outline of the plan is that you start with a senate bill carried by the likely incoming Senate Appropriations Chairman Lincoln Hough and get a right and proper six year MASBDA program for rural republicans to tout, and you attach it to a deal that includes a pretty hefty tax cut to give something for urban republicans to tout, and everyone but the democrats go home happy in three to four harmonious legislative days where Reagan’s 11th commandment is religiously upheld.
Why veto the tax rebate? The Governor basically said the money appropriated in the plan wouldn’t get Missourians anywhere near $500. So instead of building expectations and then not meeting them he wants to do a permanent tax cut for all Missourians. Most people involved said the rebate could have been done better, but there wasn’t a lot of time to craft it.
How much will the tax cut be? He mentioned that he wanted a permanent tax cut for the rate to end up somewhere around 4.7-4.8%. He was also very vague on the details, and repeatedly mentioned he was working with legislative leaders on those details. They had a pretty set plan in place to start, but the Governor has been flexible incorporating the legislature’s ideas on the bill. It’s what leaders do.
When? He didn’t say, but most people believe it will be sometime near veto session. He also mentioned that he wanted the tax cut in effect by January 1. Since an emergency clause on a tax cut probably isn’t on the table in the house that means wrapping it up by the end of October. However, you can’t really start a special session until veto session because the house floor is pretty well torn up for renovations.
What about the other two vetoes? Well you have to assume that Rep. Christophanelli could roll his override through the house pretty easily, but would it be taken up by the senate? You have to figure that Senator Eigel would have a tough time getting the votes to override a veto of his bill in the senate. However, this deal is not going to be easy. If the 2nd floor needs votes badly enough who knows those bills might be part of a bigger deal. Further. every line item budget veto is another member who has a reason to be less than happy with the Governor right now.
The potential problems
As history notes special sessions are rife with problems. Governor Nixon used to say being Governor was a great job, but it was clearly more fun a certain 7 months than the other 5. Let’s look at some of the problems with a this special session.
Can the chambers really agree on a tax cut? Probably. If you had to guess the house will come in with a huge tax cut that might leave the state mortgaging Ceres, and the senate will come in with a business focused tax cut that allows the Truman Building to pay the light bill. Maybe the bigger question is can the senate itself agree on a tax cut? Or agree on anything really?
The prevailing feeling in the chamber in May was that everyone wanted away from each other, I’m not sure those feelings have changed. However, you will have the primaries over and know what each caucus of republicans will look like. Keep in mind you likely won’t have Senator Rizzo helping to bring “the largest tax cut in state history” across the finish line.
Speaker Vescovo He has no love lost for the Governor, the senate, his own floor leader, etc. Also keep in mind this is the speaker who managed to screw up hosting the State of the State. You would normally think he would find a way either through paranoia or incompetence to screw this up too bad for House Floor Leader Dean Plocher to come in fix as was the case most all of last session.
However, there is a pretty solid theory of how he either comes around and plays ball or just gets out of Rep. Plocher’s way. He has told several people that he has lined himself up a job working for the Club for Growth. It’s a group typically funded by Mr. and Mrs. Sinquefield, and was instrumental in the original passage of the tax cut they will likely be accelerating. Most think he will do as he is told if his new bosses send the order down. I guess we’ll see.
The Rural Jobs Act. This the rural economic development bill from Senator Hoskins and Senator Brown that has been the reason the MASBDA credits were hung up the last two sessions. Pretty well everyone involved says that Senators Brown and Hoskins agreed to back down on their bill on the promise from senate leadership that there would only be a two year MASBDA extension. They may feel misled if senate leadership comes out for a six year extension in a special session.
The Governor’s Office will say that they will prohibit this with a very tight special session call. Well that will likely work procedurally if Senator Schatz is wiling to rule their amendments out of order, but that will have nothing to do with stopping a filibuster demanding larger tax cuts.
Senator Onder. Fresh off of not receiving the congressional map he was hoping for, and having his chairmanship taken away by senate leadership, and ending his campaign for St. Charles County Executive I’m not sure he has a lot of reasons to allow a bill that he doesn’t really really like to come to a vote without amendments on things such as cutting the gas tax, abortion and the FRA, etc.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.