Gov. Jay Nixon is blasting the legislature for a tax-cut plan he says will take millions of dollars from education and give it to those who don’t need it — namely, lobbyists and lawyers.
“This afternoon, the Missouri House voted to send to my desk a bill that takes $620 million annually from public education and other priorities,” Nixon said at a Wednesday news conference. “This legislation will get a thorough review over the coming days and weeks – but it’s worth noting that on its face, this year’s reckless fiscal experiment looks a lot like last year’s reckless fiscal experiment.”
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, would cut an individual’s state income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and phase in a 25 percent deduction on business income earned by individuals.
Nixon called the plan “fiscally irresponsible.”
“Once again, members of the legislature have chosen to ignore evidence that Missouri is already a low-tax state – sixth-lowest in the nation,” yet they have “voted to take money out of our public schools — hundreds of millions a year — and give it to some folks who don’t need it.”
Nixon said he finds it troubling “to take money out of our classrooms … to make college less affordable … in order to give more special breaks to lawyers and lobbyists.”
He said he will continue to work with the General Assembly to invest in schools and a workforce that can compete worldwide.
“What lobbyist needs a tax cut? What lawyer does everybody feel so sorry for in this state that they need a tax cut rather than funding education? Why should we give lawyers and lobbyists tax cuts and raise tuition on kids going to college? Those are the choices in front of us,” he said.
Nixon did not specifically say whether he would veto the bill. The measure earlier passed on a party line vote in the Senate, then sailed through the House with a 104-48 vote. One Democrat, Rep. Jeff Roorda of Barnhart, sided with Republicans in voting for the bill.
Republicans say cutting the taxes would help Missouri’s economy as it competes with border states for businesses. Many other states have passed tax cuts last year and this year.
“This is broad-based tax reform that would make our state more competitive,” Rep. Andrew Koenig, R-Manchester, told The Associated Press. “It cuts taxes for every Missourian that pays a tax.”
The bill is SB509.