JEFFERSON CITY — After about two hours of debate that rehashed familiar arguments about tax policy, the Missouri House rejected a motion to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of HB 253 with 94 votes in favor of an override and 67 votes against.
All Boone County legislators stuck to their original votes on the tax-cut bill that received more attention than any other bill passed during the legislative session. Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, who has said there were problems with the bill and was considering his vote until the last moment, voted to override.
Supporters of the bill said that it was a much needed tax-cut that would make the state more competitive in attracting small businesses and corporations that would bring new jobs to the state and ultimately help grow state revenues. They cited historical precedents of tax cuts leading to increased revenue and said businesses were leaving Missouri for states with better tax climates.
“The intent of the bill — while not actualized in letter of the law perfectly — is perfect. To help Missourians,” said Rep. T.J. Berry, R-Kearney, the bill’s original sponsor.
Rep. Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, said the bill was an example of shoddy work from the legislature and hoped that members would learn from the mistakes in the legislation.
“Our dirty little secret is nobody read this bill. Nobody,” Kelly said. “Because if they read it, they would’ve said this bill’s got a prescription drug thing in it. What about that? Or they would have said this bill’s got a textbook thing in it. What about that? Or they would have said this bill’s got a huge regressivity problem. What about that? None of us did that. That is a disgrace.”
Other opponents of the bill said the tax-cuts were skewed toward the wealthy and would blow a hole in the state’s budget, leading to cuts to education and other social services.
While HB 253 is now dead, supporters and opponents alike said that the legislature would return to tax reform once the new session begins in January.