We encourage Missouri lawmakers to consider gubernatorial vetoes individually, not collectively.
That may be a tall order, particularly since Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon set a personal record by vetoing 33 bills approved by the Republican-dominated legislature this session.
Nixon’s use of the veto stamp exceeded his 29 vetoes last year but remains below the modern record of 35 vetoes by then-Gov. John M. Dalton in 1961.
The volume of vetoes might provoke Republicans to feel disrespected, dig in their heels and push back with wholesale override attempts. A state Senate news release, for example, noted that Nixon had vetoed "nearly 30 percent" of the bills both houses passed that had started in the Senate.
Further action that intensifies discord, however, would be a mistake and not in the best interests of Missouri residents.
We have supported some overrides, most notably a successful override of a tax-cut measure during the regular session. We backed the tax cut only after it had been thoroughly vetted during two legislative sessions to eliminate errors, sharpen its focus and provide safeguards.
On the flip side, however, we support Nixon's vetoes of the a series of tax-cut measures approved on the session's final day. We believe those bills, which the governor has characterized as the "Friday Favors," were not subject to sufficient scrutiny and debate with respect to both content and cost.
To leverage his vetoes, Nixon compounded use of his veto stamp on budget line items and has announced he will withhold other spending for education and other state initiatives.
The interplay between the Democratic governor and GOP legislative majority has devolved into a clash of wills that threatens collateral damage to Missouri residents.
We encourage elected officials to observe a cooling-off period between now and the Sept. 10 veto session.
Continuation of this partisan power struggle does nothing to advance fiscally responsible public policy, which is what Missouri residents want — and deserve.
Copyright Jefferson City News-Tribune. Reprinted with permission.