Governor Jay Nixon and two of his advisory staff members will discuss his veto of what would have been the first cut to Missouri’s income tax in more than 90 years, in separate events today. Nixon will talk about veto after addressing a forum on higher education today in Jefferson City, then his budget director and legal policy advisor will explain more about it this afternoon at the Capitol.

Representative T.J. Berry (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

Representative T.J. Berry (photo courtesy; Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications)

The sponsor of HB 253 that would have cut the individual and corporate income taxes of Missourians says Governor Nixon used the unintended repeal of a tax exemption on prescription drugs and college textbooks as an excuse to veto his legislation. Representative T.J. Berry (R-Liberty) says it wasn’t his intention to raise taxes in those areas.

He maintains that issue resulted from language supplied by the Revenue Department, though e-mails between legislators and the Department cast doubt on that explanation.  Still, Berry says, “If [Governor Nixon] was really being genuine he would have gone ahead and called us into special session concurrently with the veto session and we would have just fixed it.”

Berry says he did not intend for the bill to include a repeal of a tax exemption for prescription drugs, and says if the veto is overridden that can be fixed by the legislature in January, before it has a chance to take effect.

Berry says legislative Republicans will consider whether to attempt to override the Governor’s veto, at a caucus in August.

“I would assume that we will work to override the veto, yes.”

Republicans would need every member of their House caucus to vote to overturn that veto, or else they would need some help from House Democrats.

Another reason Nixon gave for vetoing that bill is that he says it would cost the state $800-million needed for public services including education. Berry disagrees with that figure.

“The first year of this tax decrease was already paid for by tax amnesty and a couple of other things, and then the only time we would decrease taxes is when we had at least $100-million increase in revenue, so we were allowing people to keep just a little bit of the increase in revenue.”

The bill used a 3-year rolling formula that would have been triggered by a year in which Missouri revenue grew by at least 100-million dollars over the highest rate in the previous three years, before the income tax cuts would kick in.

The bill also included tax amnesty legislation and the creation of a streamlined sales tax.