What next for HB 253?
Key legislators react to Governor Nixon’s veto and plan for the future
As Governor Nixon vetoed the broad-based tax cut bill of 2013, HB 253, state legislative leaders were quick to fire back, and plan for the bill’s future.
Senate bill handler, Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, told the Associated Press that Nixon’s veto sent the wrong message to businesses in his district and all across the state.
“The governor’s action sends a loud message to Missouri businesses that we’re not interested in trying to retain you,” said Kraus. “If we do nothing, those jobs are going to leave our state.”
Kraus’s colleague, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, the original sponsor of the tax cutting portion of the legislation, called the veto “disappointing” in an article in the St. Louis Business Journal.
“The General Assembly overwhelmingly supported the measure that had been vetted through both chambers over the past years,” said Schmitt.
State Representative T. J. Berry, R-Kearney, the sponsor of HB 253 issued a statement in which he argued that the governor’s action comes at exactly the wrong time.
“As our economy is bouncing back and revenues continue to increase at a greater-than-expected rate, we have the opportunity to lower the tax burden and really share this money with the people,” wrote Berry. “We believe Missourians should be able to keep more of their money in their pockets because we believe they know best how to spend it.”
Berry went on to say in his message that the goal now is to mount a drive to override the governor’s veto during the veto override session of the General Assembly in September.
“My goal is to work with my colleagues to secure the votes to override the governor’s ill-conceived veto so that we can make this tax cut a reality when we return for veto session in September,” said Berry.
And the notion of an override does carry some weight. To override a governor’s veto, 23 Senators have to vote to do so, while the House needs 109 members to support an override motion. When HB 253 passed the Senate, it did so with 24 votes. In the House, 103 members voted in favor of the bill’s passage, but nine representatives missed the vote, including seven Republicans.
One of the Republicans who missed the vote, Rep. Jason Smith, R-Salem, is now a U.S. congressman. There are currently 109 Republicans in the Missouri House. Three Republicans voted against the bill, while three Democrats voted for the bill.
It appears the fate of the override lies in the hands of House Speaker Tim Jones. On Wednesday, Jones was critical of Nixon’s veto and was open to the idea of an override attempt.
“Amid news that our state is going to be ending the year with $300 million more than budgeted, it is disappointing that Governor Nixon is standing in the way of cutting taxes and giving some of this money back to taxpayers,” Jones told the St. Louis Beacon. “We’ll sit down as a caucus this summer and decide whether to seek to override the governor’s veto this fall. If not, we’ll come back with a new tax cut bill next session.”
Berry was a little more blunt.
“We’ll come back in September and work to override him,” Berry told the Missouri Times.
Ray McCarty of Associated Industries of Missouri promises that AIM will help lead the charge to a veto override.
Meanwhile, Nixon told the Kansas City Star he will spend the summer working to uphold his veto.
“I’m not going to hide,” said Nixon.