House Republican leaders accuse Governor Jay Nixon (D) of using fear tactics and overblown numbers in his assessment of the ten tax break bills he vetoed last week, but they don’t yet know if their party will seek to overturn his vetoes.
Nixon says those ten bills would cost state, county and city budgets $776-million dollars in revenue he says would be lost to “sweetheart deals” for special interests. He has been traveling the state to promote his arguments in defense of the vetoes, and telling local governments to leave room in their budgets to absorb the losses he says would be incurred if the legislature overturns those vetoes.
House Speaker Tim Jones (R-Eureka) tells local governments to use their own analysis.
“Because my impression of what these bills tried to do, what their intent was, was to reign in Governor Nixon’s out of control Department of Revenue, which has been out of control in many ways,” says Jones.
Majority Floor Leader John Diehl (R-Town and Country) says the local government leaders he’s talked to aren’t taking the Governor’s message about those ten bills seriously.
“His playbook of scare tactics is wearing pretty thin with people,” says Diehl of the governor. “He’s cried wolf on numerous different occasions over the past couple of years, none of which have proven to be true.”
Legislative analyst estimates on what the fiscal impact of most of those bills could be are still being updated, but Jones says he’s hearing that Nixon’s estimates are off.
“The consensus is that the governor’s numbers are completely inflated and generally seem to be pulled out of thin air without a lot of backup data,” says Jones. “I know that’s why the proponents of the bills and the sponsors are doing their best to make sure that their analysis is fully supported by the facts. They were comfortable about that the first time around, so we’re just going back and double checking.”
Several House Republicans have alluded to possible attempts to override Nixon’s vetoes of at least one of those bills when lawmakers return for the annual veto session in September, but Diehl says it is premature to predict whether such attempts will be made.
“We will take a look at the governor’s veto message to see if any valid points are raised in the veto message. Here, I don’t think there are any,” says Diehl. “We then take that veto message and the bill and we’ll discuss it as a caucus in August when we all meet again.”
Diehl says House and Senate Republican leaders must also meet before any decisions will be made about addressing the governor’s vetoes.
“I think it’s premature,” says Diehl of announcing overturn attempt now, “but I think there’s a strong possibility that we’ll make efforts to do that.”