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The Carthage Press
  • Governor defends vetoes in Carthage

  • Governor Jay Nixon has already seen lawmakers in Jefferson City override one of his vetoes of a tax measure this year and he's out touring Missouri trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.
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  • Governor Jay Nixon has already seen lawmakers in Jefferson City override one of his vetoes of a tax measure this year and he's out touring Missouri trying to make sure it doesn't happen again.
    Nixon was in Carthage for a roundtable with Carthage city and Jasper County officials talking about his veto on Wednesday of 10 bills he said contained sales tax exemptions that would reduce revenues for the state and for cities and counties across Missouri.
    Nixon said the legislature didn't follow its normal processes in passing these tax breaks.
    "In that rush to pass these sweetheart deals, the General Assembly disregarded the normal legislative process and silenced public input that could helped prevent this kind of reckless behavior," Nixon said. "Some of the most costly provisions were slipped into these bills without a public hearing, without a fiscal estimate of their costs, so legislators really had no concept of the consequences of what they were doing. Never before in my time as governor have I seen such a profound lack of information and transparency about policies that will have such a far-reaching impact."
    Nixon pointed to amendments slipped into the bills that would have exempted sales taxes paid by utilities for poles, wire and other material they use to maintain their systems, or by laundries and dry cleaners to pay for detergents and chemicals, or by restaurants, fast food business and convenience stores for the electricity and other energy they use to make the food.
    Nixon said his budget office's analysis showed the tax breaks would cost a total of $776 million in revenue, $425 million from the state budget and $351 million from local budgets.
    State Rep. Tom Flanigan, R-Carthage, the vice chairman of the House Budget Committee, said Nixon is wrong and the tax breaks were added as amendments, which don't normally get a hearing in a committee.
    "A bill can be amended, you can add an amendment to it, and the rules don't allow for a second set of hearings on amendments," Flanigan said. "For him to say there hasn't been a hearing, there might not have been a hearing on a particular amendment, but not on the bill, the bills have had a hearing at some point."
    He said the impact of the tax measure would be small and would not bust the budget.
    "There are things in there like one of the ones the governor points to would be the sales tax exemption on cars that are 10 years old or older," Nixon said. "How many times have you collected sales tax off a 10-year-old car already? A 10-year-old car is a 2004 or 2003. The idea that that's going to bust the budget is ridiculous."
    Flanigan said the bills Nixon vetoed would have helped cities and other entities.
    Page 2 of 2 - "Here is the special interest he's worried about," Flanigan said. "One of those bills deals with the city of Perryville being given permission to run an election for a transit sales tax. The city of Perryville, there's a real special interest. Another one dealt with a city wanting to do a bond issue so they could build a swimming pool. There's another special interest."
    The legislature has the opportunity to override the vetoes when it returns for a veto session in September, but Flanigan said he didn't know if it would happen.
    "When we go to veto session, guess what, somebody's going to say lets override all these vetoes, but it rarely happens," he said. "The governor has been going around the state talking like the legislature is a bunch of evil people and look at all the bad things we do, but every one of those bills was introduced in December and here it is June. He could have worked with us to make them better, or tweak them. He could have worked with us on these bills, but he didn't do that."

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