House sends tax-cut bill to Nixon for his signature

Democrats say measure takes money away from education

By Steven Anthony

JEFFERSON CITY — For the second straight year, the Legislature sent a tax-cut bill to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon for his signature or veto.

House Speaker Tim Jones, R-St. Louis County, expressed great joy after the vote to send the measure to the governor.

“I’m most pleased for the state of Missouri because I believe that with this vote today, we have told job creators and employers and entrepreneurs, small-businessmen and women that Missouri wants to be competitive and wants to have a positive business climate for growth and opportunity in our state,” Jones said.

House Majority Leader John Diehl, R-St. Louis County, also said the bill will do great things for the Show-Me State.

“We’re very pleased,” Diehl said. “Tax relief and tax cuts are very important. They’re a very important tool to grow businesses and Missouri’s economy.”

Democrats, however, were not very happy.

They charge the bill hurts education and takes away money from schools.

House Democratic Leader Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis City, says this bill shortchanges the education funding formula.

“Today, we are $620 million underfunding our education system,” Hummel said. “What we have gotten today is an effort to take away an additional $800 million in revenue to ensure that there’s never going to be any way to fund our schools. I just think that’s wrong.”

Rep. Genise Montecillo, D-Affton, echoed Hummel’s sentiment.

“I think yet again we are having a negative impact on education,” Montecillo said. “The cuts to our school districts is going to be harmful and at a time where we should be investing in our children’s future, we’re taking dollars away from our classroom and our children’s futures yet again.”

The bill’s original sponsor Sen. Will Kraus, R-Jackson County, said the House’s vote to send the measure to the governor was the right move.

“It’s a great day for Missourians,” Kraus said.

Just an hour after the House vote, Nixon conducted a press conference where he harshly attacked Republicans for making the same choice as last year.

“It’s worth noting that on its face, this year’s reckless fiscal experiment looks a lot like last year’s reckless fiscal experiment,” Nixon said. “Once again, supporters of this fiscally irresponsible scheme are trotting out discredited economic theories and excuses.”

Nixon has 15 days to decide whether to veto the bill.