Nixon: Tax-cut bill will cost higher education millions

Jul 31, 2013

Gov. Jay Nixon says the University of Missouri System stands to lose up to $54 million annually if state lawmakers override his veto on House Bill 253.
Credit Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Gov. Jay Nixon continued stumping across the state discouraging state lawmakers from overriding his veto on a tax cut bill.

At the University of Missouri Columbia campus Wednesday, Nixon said the bill could result in a funding slash of $67 million per year for the state’s higher education institutions. The University of Missouri system alone stands to lose $31 million per year. And if a federal online sales tax bill passes, the state number jumps up to a cut of $116 million annually.

The bill, which the democratic governor vetoed in June, calls for a personal income tax rate cut of half of a percent and the corporate rate by three percent. Critics of the bill say it could result in a state revenue loss of at least $692 million and funnel millions of dollars away from vital public services, such as education.

The state bill also calls for a tax increase on college textbooks. Nixon said that tax hike paired with the funding cuts would undermine the quality and affordability of higher education – a tool he deemed critical in economic development.

“Giving a lobbyist a tax cut while increasing the cost of college student’s textbook will no create jobs,” he said.

The governor also fired off a laundry list of education programs and positions in peril if the veto is overridden, including scholarships, faculty layoffs and research funding.

And although Republican House Speaker Tim Jones has recently told media that it will be difficult to garner enough votes for an override, Nixon said he will continue to point out the bill’s flaws and the gravity of the vote.

“My sense is that the legislators – many of whom did not realize all the problems this bill has – are recognizing very clearly that there is no reason to raise taxes on prescription drugs, defund our schools or jeopardize our AAA credit rating,” he said.  “I think they are communicating that with their leadership.”

The General Assembly is scheduled to reconvene in September.