Gov. Nixon Unexpectedly Gives Legislators Another Reason To Override A Tax Cut Veto
Last Thursday, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon dispatched a press release saying he believes the income tax cut, passed by a wide margin earlier this month, would in fact raise the sales tax on prescription drugs in the state. That’s news to the drafters of the legislation, who say the legislative language in question actually came from… the governor’s Department of Revenue. No doubt, there’s an army of tax lawyers heading to Jefferson City right now to figure out how that language should be interpreted, and I’m sure we’ll hear more on their analyses soon.
But if good policy wasn’t a sufficient reason to override the widely expected veto of the tax cut before, then self-preservation might be — an incentive the governor has now offered up through his remarks. If there is in fact a “tax increase” in this tax cut, legislators cannot afford to have nothing to show for it and no way to fix it. That leaves them with only one option: preserve the tax cut and correct the drafting error. Voting not to override a veto of the tax cut would close that door; voting to override the veto would prop it open.
But stripping away all the inside-baseball stuff, this whole situation boils down to one thing: that the governor would rather spend taxpayers’ money on new state programs, such as an expansion of Medicaid, than return the money to taxpayers. That’s sad, and I wish the governor would just come out and tell us as much rather than dance around the fact. If nothing else, it would save taxpayers the money spent on all the governor’s press releases hinting at this reality.