Governor Jay Nixon has launched a major public effort to support his veto last week of a bill that would have cut Missouri's individual and corporate income taxes.
The Democratic Governor appeared before college and university officials Tuesday morning in Jefferson City, telling them that the GOP-backed proposal is the single greatest threat to public education he's seen in his career.
"$800 million is the equivalent, (let's) put it in context, the equivalent of closing all our prisons, or eliminating the entire Department of Mental Health, or cutting all state support for our public institutions of higher learning," Nixon said. "That's everybody in this room."
Nixon told the crowd, which included university presidents and chancellors, that he wants them to voice support for his decision to veto House Bill 253 if, as expected, Republican lawmakers attempt to override it. The Governor also directed his budget office to brief reporters Tuesday afternoon on his objections to the bill.
Budget Director Linda Luebbering says it would cost the state at least $300 million next year, but because of the way it's written it could also balloon up beyond $1 Billion.
"Missourians could come in and claim refunds based on that lower tax rate for the three prior tax years," Luebbering told reporters. "Simple math -- four years total, times $300 million a year, (equals) $1.2 billion estimated net cost to general revenue collections potentially in the Fiscal Year that's starting July 1."
Republican House and Senate members contend that cutting the income tax rate will lure more businesses to Missouri and help the state compete with neighboring Kansas and Oklahoma, which recently slashed their tax rates.
Several lawmakers have publicly stated they want House and Senate leaders to attempt to override the Governor's veto this fall. House Speaker Tim Jones (R, Eureka) has stated he'll meet with Republican legislators from both chambers before deciding what to do.
Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReport