The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has lobbied aggressively for the General Assembly to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of income tax cuts, but top business organizations in the state’s major metropolitan areas are either against the override or remain neutral on the issue.
The veto session begins today and is expected to continue through Thursday and perhaps into Friday.
House Bill 253 would, over a 10-year period, lower the individual income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent and lower the corporate tax rate from 6.25 percent to 3.25 percent. It would also phase in a 50 percent deduction for business income on individual tax returns Supporters say the cuts would encourage businesses to come to Missouri, increasing revenue for the state. Nixon and opponents say the bill would dramatically decrease revenue and cause funding cuts for public schools across the state.
Below is a look at where the state chamber and several local chambers and other groups stand on the bill:
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Support for HB 253 is extensive on the Missouri Chamber’s website and blog. On June 5, the day Nixon vetoed the bill, the chamber published a post saying the veto, “will result in missed opportunities for Missouri.” On Aug. 29, the chamber hosted Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a strong supporter of tax breaks and deductions.
Columbia Chamber of Commerce
The Columbia Chamber formally opposed a veto override. The Columbia Chamber said its Government Affairs Committee researched both sides of the issue and voted to support the veto. Bob Wagner, the chamber’s chairman, said the organization “is very concerned with our economy and we strongly support anything that would help our members to be more successful. But we cannot do that with flawed legislation and anything that would jeopardize the funding of education in Missouri.”
Springfield Chamber of Commerce
The Springfield Chamber of Commerce adopted a resolution expressing its opposition to the tax reduction bill, the Springfield News-Leader reported. “The discussion really centered on the universal agreement that the bill itself is flawed,” executive vice president Rob Dixon said.
Kingdom of Callaway County Chamber of Commerce
The Kingdom of Callaway County Chamber of Commerce said it opposes the veto override because of the possible implications on education funding. “The Chamber believes that protecting Callaway County public schools is paramount to the strength of our county business community,” a news release from the group said.
St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association
The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association decided to stay out of the debate by not taking a position on the bill. But the chamber called the bill a distraction to the most important issues still facing Missourians and said legislators should not give any more attention to the legislation. “Rather than working to override the Governor’s veto, we believe our legislative leaders and the Governor should get in a room and start working on solutions to our real and pressing problems,” the St. Louis Chamber said.
Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
The Civic Council of Greater Kansas City decided to get involved in the debate immediately after the legislative session by announcing its opposition to HB 253. The Council sent a letter about its position to Nixon on May 21, two weeks before he vetoed the bill. The Council still opposes the bill, saying “further tax cuts will only make matters worse, and do nothing to create jobs or make businesses more competitive.”