Governor Jay Nixon (D) wants his veto of a proposed cut to Missouri’s corporate and individual income taxes to stand, and he’s taken that message to the state’s higher education leaders.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D)

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D)

“Members of the General Assembly can either support House Bill 253 or they can support higher education, but they can’t do both.”

Nixon tells leaders from the state’s colleges and universities that if his veto is overturned, HB 253 will cost the state’s operating budget $800-million, the equivalent of cutting all support for higher education, closing all state prisons or eliminating the Department of Mental Health. He also highlighted that the bill would repeal a tax exemption on college textbooks, as well as prescription drugs.

He urges those leaders to talk to people in their communities and the lawmakers that represent them in support of his veto, which could face an override attempt by the Republican supermajority-led legislature in September’s veto session.

“That decision can either protect our future or seal our fate. House Bill 253 means higher taxes on Missouri seniors and families but fewer tax dollars available for our colleges and universities. House Bill 253 means our students will spend more money on their textbooks while our state spends less money on their classrooms. House Bill 253 means fewer scholarships, less workforce training dollars and shrinking funding for each of your institutions.”

Republicans say the tax cut would make Missouri more competitive with Kansas, where taxes on businesses and individuals have been cut in recent years. Nixon says Kansas’ tax rate is still higher than Missouri’s, and says Kansas is now dealing with the results of its tax cut efforts.

“After they had their experiment, the thing they did when the first budget they had in front of them was pass a $777-million tax increase to make up the hole and go ahead and cut education to boot, so that risky experiment that they tried did not work there and we should not follow down that path.”

Nixon says his office will continue to make the case to other groups that his veto should stand, but he says that effort is not a campaign.

“It’s just important for people to understand the scope of $800-million.”

 AUDIO:  Listen to Governor Nixon’s speech, 17:25