WHAT OTHERS SAY: Tax cut hyperbole - ‘Crippling impact’ or ‘scare tactic’?

Monday, April 28, 2014 | 1:25 p.m. CDT

Hyperbole: Language that describes something as better or worse than it really is. (Example: Most reactions to a proposed tax cut in Missouri).

Extravagant exaggeration.

Hyperbole surrounds a proposed income tax cut favored by Republican majorities in the Missouri legislature and opposed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

A proposed tax cut again this session has been advanced to the governor, who has threatened a veto but has not acted yet.

Last year, Nixon vetoed a Republican tax cut. The veto narrowly was upheld. We opposed the bill because it contained a flawed provision to eliminate the tax exemption for prescription drugs.

Nixon — who initially characterized this year’s tax cut as a “dangerous scheme” — contends he has found a similar, crucial flaw in the latest proposal.

The governor believes the bill’s language would eliminate income taxes for all Missourians earning in excess of $9,000 in taxable income. “It is hard to overstate the crippling impact this would have,” he said last week.

Republican proponents vehemently disagree. House Majority Leader John Diehl said: “What we’re seeing is the same thing we saw last summer — a pattern of scare tactics and deception — to avoid addressing the real issue of whether or not Missourians deserve some of their money back.”

Nixon has stated clearly he does not favor the tax cut at this time, but is his objection part of a “pattern” of deception?

His objection last year to the lifting of the prescription drug exception was on target; the GOP admitted the error, but urged passage of the bill, contending it would be corrected later. We opposed knowingly passing a flawed bill.

This year, Nixon cited a legal opinion from an attorney who agrees with his interpretation.

Not surprisingly, Republicans countered with an opposing legal opinion.

If the tax cut wins approval and the provision is challenged, the courts will decide which legal opinion prevails.

Republicans may be correct, but why dig in their heels, when they can change the bill’s language and eliminate any misinterpretation and prevent a protracted legal battle.

If the offending language is removed and the governor objects anew, a “pattern of scare tactics” becomes more apparent.

Copyright Jefferson City News Tribune. Reprinted with permission.

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