JEFFERSON CITY — A Missouri House Republican who voted to uphold Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of tax-cutting legislation seemed to criticize House Speaker Tim Jones in an email to colleagues who also opposed the override.
Rep. Nate Walker wrote he knows fellow Republicans opposing the override are of the "highest integrity," which is "something that I can NOT say for our Speaker Tim Jones. What a disgrace he has become." Walker said Jones has been "talking out of both sides of his mouth" and "throwing us under his AG Campaign Bus." Jones has said previously he is considering a run for attorney general.
Walker, of Kirksville, also stated that "if any one needs any moral support, please feel free to call me at anytime." He served in the legislature from 1981-1985, lost in a Republican lieutenant governor primary in 1984 and returned earlier this year to the state House.
Walker said Tuesday in an interview the email was not intended for public distribution. He said he does not want to cause Jones "further heartburn" but that "he hasn't been very kind to us." Walker said there were threats before last week's veto session, during it and afterward. He added he does not question Jones' integrity and that the portion about speaking from both sides of his mouth and throwing people under the bus was sarcasm. Walker said he is willing to apologize if Jones thinks that is appropriate.
"I'm still a member of the Republican caucus. Tim Jones is my speaker, and I look forward to working (with) him," Walker said. "And we just have to get past this little bump in the road."
Jones said Tuesday that "Nate is a member of our caucus, and I look forward to working with him next year to pass legislation that will improve the lives of all Missourians."
Nixon's veto of the tax cut was sustained last week. The House voted for the override 94-67, but a two-thirds majority requires 109 votes. Fifteen Republicans joined 52 Democrats opposing the override.
After the veto session, Jones, R-Eureka, said Republicans campaigned on reducing taxes and that some lawmakers would need to answer for possibly breaking a campaign promise and a policy promise. He also said he must be cautious about anything that could affect long-term relationships with legislators.
The tax cut would have gradually reduced Missouri's corporate income tax rate from 6.25 percent to 3.25 percent. It also would have lowered the top tax rate for individuals from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over the next decade if state revenues continued to rise by at least $100 million annually. There would have been a five-year phase-in for a 50 percent tax deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns.
Jones has said he would try again in 2014 to pass a new bill, and Walker also said he is working on possible tax legislation.