The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Columns

July 28, 2013

Susan Redden: Proponents line up for, against veto override

JOPLIN, Mo. — In this corner ... the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

And in this corner ... the Missouri Association of School Administrators.

Like the referee says, let’s keep this a clean fight with no hitting below the belt.

The Missouri chamber earlier this month began airing a television commercial urging the General Assembly to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a tax-cut bill passed in the 2013 session.

Daniel Mehan, president and chief executive officer of the Missouri chamber, described the bill as “broad-based tax relief.”

If the campaign is successful, Missourians would receive a $384 million tax cut, Mehan said, affecting workers and employers. Tax rate reductions would not go into effect unless the state has revenue growth of $100 million each year, guaranteeing growth of at least $1 billion over 10 years before the full reductions are realized.

Mehan said: “It is a well thought out strategy to help Missouri invest economic growth back into our employers and workers, not into the growth of government.”

The chamber is part of a coalition called Grow Missouri working to support the override. Other groups involved include Americans for Prosperity, Missouri Club for Growth, Save Missouri Jobs, United for Missouri, Voice of Free Enterprise, the Missouri Family Network, the Missouri Society of Certified Public Accountants and the Missouri Grocers Association.

Much of the ad campaign money is coming from political activist Rex Sinquefield, of St. Louis, who has bankrolled other state initiatives aimed primarily at cutting the income tax in favor of higher sales taxes.

The effort is being countered by Gov. Nixon and a group called Coalition for Missouri’s Future.

About a dozen organizations representing schools, school administrators and teachers are involved in the coalition, along with AARP Missouri, the League of Women Voters of Missouri, Missouri AFL-CIO, the Missouri Hospital Association, the Missouri Health Care Association, the Missouri Municipal League, the Missouri State Council of Fire Fighters, the Service Employees International Union and Partnership for Children.

The coalition composed of education, business, labor and health care organizations is citing an analysis by James R. Moody, former state budget director, which agues that the tax cut would not create new jobs and would disproportionately benefit the wealthy.

They call it the “burger vs. big screen” analysis, saying a family at near the median income would get a tax cut large enough to buy an extra hamburger a month, while the wealthy would get enough to buy “a very nice big screen television.”

The veto session is set to begin Sept. 11.

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