Lawmakers return to the State Capitol a week from today to consider whether to overturn Governor Jay Nixon on his decision to reject more than 30 of the bills they passed in the legislative session.
They can also vote to overturn his decisions to veto certain spending proposals made by the legislature in the budget it sent him. House Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream, R-Kirkwood, says Nixon cut spending in 116 places that he and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, will on Friday discuss for potential veto overturns.
Lawmakers could also vote on overturning Nixon’s vetoes of 10 tax policy bills that Nixon says could cost the state $425-million. Stream says by Friday he and Schaefer should know more from their party’s leadership in both chambers about which of those 10 bills might be the subject of override attempts.
Stream acknowledges that securing the budget item overrides will be easier if the vetoes of those policy bills are allowed to stand.
“The governor has used those tax cut bills as the reason why he had to withhold and veto so much money,” says Stream. “If those tax cut bills are not going to be overridden, then there’s not the problem with trying to override [the budget item vetoes].”
The ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, Jeanne Kirkton of Webster Groves, says until Republicans’ plans for those tax cut bills is made clear, it will be hard for any lawmakers to know how to vote on the budget item vetoes. Stream says he’ll need the help of Democrats to be successful in overturning the budget vetoes because many Republicans voted against those bills, out of objection to increased spending.
“I’m not expecting [those Republicans] to support any overrides, but many of these items have very strong Democratic support, so I’m expecting to get help from the Democrats,” says Stream.
A two-thirds majority of members in each chamber is needed to overturn a veto.
Stream and Kirkton both believe the economy still hasn’t recovered from a downturn, but they don’t agree on what that means for the items Nixon cut in the budget.
Nixon vetoed $144.6-million in general revenue spending. Stream believes there is enough revenue to support restoring those items.
“These are programs that we put in place that we thought it was important to fund,” says Stream. “They got bipartisan support in almost all cases.”
“In an ideal situation I would love to see a lot of this be able to be turned around,” says Kirkton. “In the budget situation we’re in, I think if anything is overridden it’s probably going to end up being withheld, regardless.”
Kirkton notes cuts were made to programs backed by lawmakers in both parties and in both chambers.
“Everyone in the whole House and Senate has had their ox gored in some way or another,” says Kirkton.