JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — House Republicans told reporters today they believe they are poised to override a potential gubernatorial veto of their a tax cut bill, paving the way for another potentially bitter fight between Gov. Jay Nixon and Republicans in the Capitol.
Last year, 15 House Republicans joined Democrats in rejecting an override of Nixon’s veto of House Bill 253, a massive tax cut bill. They were soon dubbed the “flimsy 15,” by conservative critics. Flanked by 11 of the 15, House Speaker Tim Jones and Majority Leader John Diehl said they’ve worked all year to get a caucus-wide consensus on a tax cut package.
Jones and Diehl both told reporters that the tax cut vehicles currently moving through the building were “smaller and simpler” than HB253. Diehl and Jones met with reporters just before the House reconvened to give final approval to SB 509 — which reduces individual income tax rates and expands business income deductions.
SB 509 contains revenue triggers stipulating that none of the tax reductions can take place if the state doesn’t increase its revenue by at least $150 million every year. Supporters say this trigger should assuage concerns from Democrats that the plan will reduce state revenues and shrink state services.
Democrats and opponents say the trigger is too low, and that the majority of the tax cuts simply won’t go to working or poor families, but rather to larger businesses. Nixon, speaking with reporters, said the bill “looks an awful lot,” like last year’s tax cut bill. Nixon leaned heavily on the damage he said the bill would do to education, mental health and the state’s AAA bond rating.
“Once again, members of the legislature have chosen to ignore the evidence that Missouri is already a low tax state,” Nixon said. “Once again, they’ve chosen to disregard that Missouri’s economy is moving forward and outpacing our neighbors on the strength of our skilled workforce. And once again, the general assembly has voted to take money out of our public schools, hundreds of millions of dollars a year.”
Jones and Diehl also said that if Nixon vetoed the bill before the send of session, they would schedule an override vote before lawmakers went home for the summer. During the press event all 11 of the “flimsy 15” committed to casting a vote to override a veto on SB 509.
“It seems like every bill there is some concern that [Nixon] has,” Diehl said. “But he also doesn’t come to the table, so I can’t say what he plans on doing. But if he does veto, it’s our intention to schedule an override vote on that.”
Republicans need 109 votes to override Nixon’s veto. If all Republicans approve the measure, one Democrat will still need to buck the party vote and join in order to override. On the House vote, Democratic Jefferson County Senate candidate and current House member Jeff Roorda was the lone Democrat to vote “yes” on the bill.
The bill will now head to Nixon’s desk. He will have 15 days to either sign or veto the bill otherwise it simply becomes law. Nixon all but promised a veto when speaking with reporters, but also said that the bill would be “thoroughly reviewed” and said he did not expect to officially veto the measure for at least a few days.
Collin Reischman was the Managing Editor for The Missouri Times, and a graduate of Webster University with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.