Expect to see a lot of ads leading up to September, paid for largely by one man. Libertarian Rex Sinquefield has given nearly $2.4 million to groups backing a possible cut to Missouri's income tax.
In response, Democratic Governor Jay Nixon has gone on the offensive, attacking the income tax bill and defending his veto.
Speaking in St. Louis to the Regional Chamber, Nixon said it is a "fiscally irresponsible experiment that didn't work in Kansas and won't work here."
Republicans in the state legislature have said that an income tax cut would help the state compete with neighboring Kansas, which is experiencing serious budget cuts as a result. Backers of the bill maintain that there are safeguards to keep Missouri from reaching a similar budget shortfall, but Nixon is not convinced.
"They say these provisions will ensure the bill is affordable and prevent cuts to services in an economic downturn," Nixon told the crowd. "Unfortunately, when you read the bill, that's just not the case. Under the bill, the tax cuts would have even taken effect in 2009. I think we can all agree that 2009 was not a very good economic year."
Nixon said that it would reduce revenue for the state by an estimated $800 million. The Democratic governor has also criticized the bill for language that would inadvertently raise the sales tax on prescription drugs. Republicans have countered that the error could easily be fixed in January.
"Their plan of 'Oh don't worry, let us raise taxes now, we'll come back next year, just trust us.' Folks, I - I wouldn't trust folks to work out a fix," Nixon said.
Nixon has said that he won't get into a check-writing competition with a billionaire. But he added that the nature of the well-funded push is worrisome.
"Paid for by one guy!" Nixon exclaimed. "In an election, if it's one guy against six million Missourians, I like our side.”
Unaccredited Schools and Busing
Some state representatives and parents have called for a special session to deal with the influx of students bused in from unaccredited schools like Normandy and Riverview Gardens in North St. Louis County to accredited schools like Francis Howell and Mehlville.
Nixon has said a special session will not be called, and stood by that decision Thursday.
The St. Louis Rams
Reporters asked Nixon a few questions about the future of the St. Louis Rams. As he has done in previous instances, the governor offered little information.
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