Nixon hopeful he will win veto vote against tax bill

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)-- Democratic Governor Jay Nixon's party is in the minority in the Missouri state capitol, but he appears to be in the driver's seat when it comes to Wednesday's Legislative Veto Session.

Republicans hold veto proof majorities (2/3s) in both the House and Senate, but some GOP House members have indicated they will not vote to override Nixon vetoes of certain bills.

The governor vetoed 29 bills and expenditure items in three budget bills.

The spotlight is expected to be on House Bill 253, a measure to cut taxes that also raises some sales taxes,  House Bill 301 that deals with the Missouri Sex Offender Registry and House Bill 436 designed to protect Missourian's Second Amendment (gun ownership) rights from federal laws.

Nixon spent all summer sounding the alarm particularly about the tax cut measure.  Republicans argue after an economic downturn it is time to give taxpayers more money to spend.  Missouri State Senator Scott Rupp of Wentzville said over ten years the cuts would produce one billion dollars worth of new tax revenue.  But he agrees there would be a drop in revenue during the first year.

Governor Nixon has withheld some appropriated funds from education budgets in case the tax cut becomes law over his veto.  Other services including mental health would be impacted.

Pressure to approve HB 253 has come from privately funded groups like Grow Missouri.  The organization was among those sponsoring a recent visit from Texas Governor Rick Perry who urged lawmakers to override Nixon's veto to preserve the tax cuts.

Nixon points to his record as a fiscal conservative.  "I've cut taxes four times as governor," he said Tuesday after an appearance at Affton High School.  He has also cut the size of state government.  Nixon cited his rules for tax cuts.  "They have to be targeted toward job creation directlyand they have to be fiscally responsible."

The governor's statewide campaign to uphold his vetoes has drawn attention.  The New York Times carried an article about him Tuesday.  "These are important debates right now," Nixon said.

"I deeply believe education is the best economic development tool we have.  I am convinced beyond any realm of doubt that de-funding public educational opportunities and colleges in the state is not the way to build this economy."

The GOP House Floor Leader Rep. John Diehl of Town and Country was unavailable Tuesday to talk to reporters.  His administrative assistant said he was tied up in meetings all day.

The Republicans are expected to caucus Tuesday night and Wednesday morning before going into the public veto session at Noon Wednesday.

The Senate has some vetoed measures it expects to deal with quickly.  Then members will wait to see if the House sends them any veto overrides.  Each chamber must poll a 2/3 majority for a veto to be overridden and the bill to become law.  Bills that originated in the House will be considered there first and vice versa for Senate bills.

Senator Rupp predicted the House will not have sufficient votes to override the tax cut measure HB 353.

Betsey.bruce@tvstl.com
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