Come September, big cuts could be happening in Missouri and Governor Jay Nixon has put money aside just in case. It is called House Bill 253, which Nixon said is â??fiscally irresponsible and comes with a price tag of $800 million.â?? It would cut taxes for individuals and businesses for the first time in 90 years.
Nate Walker Missouri District 3 State Representative said he supported the tax reform bill because he believes in limited government. â??Now there are differences in opinions. Some feel that this is going to cut revenues, I don't think it will cut revenues, but Iâ??m not going to argue that point right now,â?? Walker said. â??I'm going to reserve my final vote until after I hear all the debate. In this particular bill it passed in both the House and the Senate and the Governor looked at the bill and he decide in his judgment this is not what he wanted to see, so he vetoed the bill. And, we have a check and balance in government and so there's a process that when the Governor vetoes a bill we have the opportunity as the general assembly to evaluate and maybe his reasons are good; and so we have to evaluate and see if we want to override that veto or not.â??
On Friday, the governor restricted $400 million from the upcoming budget he said to keep Missouriâ??s Fiscal Year 2014 budget solid in case Republicans override his veto. Walker said he is not sure yet if he will vote to override the governor. â??I'm going to wait and see and listen to people of the third district and when I make my vote it will be with the input of the people who elected me,â?? Walker said.
The Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA) is urging districts to plan ahead for the next school year because of the tax bill passed by the General Assembly. Out of the $400 million the governor has set back, $66 million of that is out of Missouri school budget. â??While itâ??s unfortunate it had to be done, Governor Nixonâ??s actions are financially responsible given the fiscal cliff that the Legislature has forced upon the state with passage of HB 253,â?? said Roger Kurtz, Executive Director of MASA.
Kurtz said districts should not panic, because the funding to schools will likely be released if the veto is maintained. Kirksville R-III Superintendent Patrick Williams said the district started the year off with a healthy fund balance, but the cut is approximately three teacherâ??s salaries and a one time withholding will cause some concern. â??Well a basic estimate is that the $66 million withholding across the state would amount to about $125,000 in state aid for the Kirksville Public school system,â?? Williams said.
Williams said some estimates report the state could loose $2 million in state aid if the tax reform bill is enacted. Kurtz said Missouri is already underfunding schools by $620 million and Missouri teachers are some of the worst paid in the country, ranking 46th in the U.S. Walker said if it looks like overriding the Governor will greatly affect the school systems he will not vote to override the veto. â??Hopefully, and I know at the end we'll do the right thing. If we override the Governorâ??s veto that will be the way it is, and if we don't that will be the best choice too,â?? Walker said. â??Hopefully, we're going to do the right thing and make sure education is not hurt and senior citizens are not hurt.â??
The Republican-controlled Legislature returns to the Capitol on September 14th for its annual veto session. A veto override requires 109 votes, or twoâ??thirds of the 163 elected state representatives.