Columbia City Council shies away from statement on state tax cut

Monday, August 19, 2013 | 9:17 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — At its Monday meeting, the Columbia City Council shied away from making a statement about the  state legislature's attempt to override a veto of an income tax measure, citing uncertainty about the bill's impact.

Mayor Bob McDavid said he wasn't sure about the bill, intended to boost the state economy, which Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed in June. He said MU's support for Nixon's veto to be sustained was weighing on him, however.

"I take what the university says at face value," McDavid said. "They are the economic driver of the city of Columbia."

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe and Third Ward Councilman Karl Skala said they supported the governor's veto.  

"I'm not shy about giving my support to the governor's veto," Skala said. 

The bill would gradually reduce corporate and income taxes as long as state revenues continue to rise by at least $100 million annually. It would also enter Missouri into a national effort to eliminate the differences between states' sales and use taxes to make it easier for retailers who do business in several states.

It also aims to level the playing field between local stores and online retailers.

The Republican-controlled legislature passed the bill in May, hoping it would help Missouri compete with neighboring states who have also cut taxes in recent years. Nixon vetoed the bill, saying it would lead to less revenue and, as a result, budget cuts.

The legislature will have a chance to override the veto during the September veto session, and lobbying from both sides has heated up.

Toni Messina, civic relations manager, presented a memo about the bill from City Manager Mike Matthes to the council Monday. She noted that the Missouri Municipal League, of which Columbia is a member, has asked members to support the governor's veto. 

"I think the questions in this bill might outweigh the answers," Matthes said before the meeting. "Might just need to cook a little longer."

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.


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