Progress Missouri is seeking to reward Missouri state representatives who decide to support Governor Jay Nixon’s veto of an expensive tax bill.
Critics of the legislation say the tax bill would reduce general revenue in the state, and cut funds from schools and communities, while increasing taxes on prescription drugs.
State representatives who vote to override the veto will be entered in Progress Missouri’s lottery. One representative’s name will be drawn, and an aerial banner will be flown over a high school or college football game in his or her home district.
The group’s goal is to present the legislator in a negative light, while raising awareness about the legislation.
Executive Director of Progress Missouri Sean Soendker Nicholson says while the contest might not influence the minds of legislators, it is important to educate Missourians on the matter.
“We’re trying to raise the stakes a little bit in a fun way. But really at the end of the day our goal is to raise awareness and get the public informed about direct costs of some of these really bad ideas in Jefferson City,” said Soendker Nicholson.
Missouri Representative Chris Kelly has been opposed to the bill from the beginning, so his name will not be placed in the lottery. He says the bill would have a negative effect on the Missouri education system.
“When you decrease general revenue, as this would do, there would be less money available for schools,” said Kelly. “Most of all general revenue goes to elementary or secondary and higher education and if you cut it by some 400-million dollars there would be no other option but that schools would have less money.”
Kelly says with less money available for schools, the overall quality of Missouri schools would decrease.
He also says that while current college students would not see a decrease in student loans, the state would be less able to participate in loan and scholarship programs in the future.
If the House decides not to override the veto in September, and the policy goes into effect, the organization will still reward Representatives who have opposed the bill from the beginning.