Gov. Jay Nixon, explaining his repeated targeting of “lawyers and lobbyists” in his speeches opposing a tax-cut bill, said those are examples of people who add little “economic oomph” to Missouri.
Nixon has made the reference in multiple speeches since he began voicing his concerns last fall over the tax-cut bill he ultimately vetoed last week. The Senate on Monday afternoon voted 23-8 along party lines to override Nixon’s veto; the House followed suit, voting 109-46 to override the veto.
At the root of Nixon’s opposition is a 25 percent tax deduction for what is called “pass-through” business income. The legislation also would gradually cut the state’s top individual income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. Upon his veto, Nixon last week repeated the sentiment: ”The money this bill would drain from our classrooms and college campuses would go to line the pockets of lawyers, lobbyists and other wealthy individuals.”
Analysis of the bill shows it would benefit a number of limited liability corporations from small to large. The more an LLC earned, the bigger the breaks. Although law firms would be among those affected, many other types of businesses also would.
When a Missouri Lawyers Media reporter asked Nixon last week why he repeatedly pointed to lawyers and lobbyists when discussing his opposition to the bill, he said they are “very real examples of people that would benefit from this bill.”
“They are also very real examples of people that add very little economic oomph to the economy,” Nixon said. “They do very important work in their own narrow areas, but I don’t remember hearing anyone say, when we … talked to 600 leaders in the state and put a five-year blueprint together, there wasn’t anyone in any of those sessions who said, ‘We want to build our economy on the backs of lawyers and lobbyists.’”
Those economic leaders in Missouri, Nixon said, instead talked about the need to bolster technology and education to create a trained workforce.
“So I just use that as an example, but you could use folks that own casinos or real estate partnerships or whatever.” But lawyers and lobbyists are “strong and clear, unequivocal examples of how this bill is not targeted to create jobs, instead, it’s a benefit to benefit the few.”
The tax-cut bill is SB509.