Nixon speaks against education funding cuts, defends other vetoes

MSA will host a Kill the Bill rally Sept. 5 in support of Nixon’s veto of HB253.
Crystal Duan / Graphic Designer

In defense of his vetoes, Gov. Jay Nixon has toured the state giving news conferences and meeting constituents.

Nixon has vetoed 32 bills this year, up from 17 last year.

Of his 32 vetoes, Nixon vetoed three bills only in part.

Most of these conferences have focused on House Bill 253, a bill to cut income taxes that Nixon has said would hurt funding for public services, including education.

“House Bill No. 253 is an ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible experiment that would inject far-reaching uncertainty into our economy, undermine our state’s fiscal health and jeopardize basic funding for education and vital public services,” Nixon said in his HB253 veto message.

MSA to rally against HB253

The Missouri Students Association is set to rally next week against HB253, which could become law after a vote at the Missouri Statehouse next month attempting to override the governor’s veto.

Kill the Bill, a joint effort by MSA and the Associated Students of the University of Missouri, will take place at 5 p.m. Sept. 5 at the MU Student Center.

Planned speakers include Chancellor Brady Deaton, University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe and MSA President Nick Droege.

HB253 — which would cut $800 million in potential tax revenue for the next fiscal year, according to a news release from the governor — was passed by state representatives in May. Some representatives said the bill would streamline the tax system and make Missouri more economically competitive.

When Nixon vetoed the legislation, he cited concerns of fiscal irresponsibility, especially in that the lost revenue could translate into tuition increases and eliminate the tax-exempt status of college textbooks.

Those cost increases are the reason behind the rally, ASUM President Ben Levin said.

“I think it’s telling that so many chambers of commerce have, in spite of those arguments, come out and said that this cut would just do too much harm to Missourians,” Levin said. “I see where (bill author) T.J. Berry is coming from, but I don’t think those competitive arguments outweigh the harm it will do to education.”

Droege called the rally a necessity.

“Our legislative goal is to educate students as to the potential outcomes of the potential override of House Bill 253,” Droege said. “If (the) veto is overridden, there’s potential that tuition will increase by 8-16 percent, and we’re pretty concerned about that.”

Rick Perry defends HB253

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is heading to Missouri on Thursday to encourage businesses to move to the Lone Star State. In advance of his visit, Perry has a seven-day radio ad and nine-day TV ad program to air in Columbia, Jefferson City, St. Louis, Joplin, Kansas City and Springfield.

For Missouri, his one-minute radio ad criticizes Nixon for vetoing HB253. The radio ad attacks Nixon, saying, “Vetoing a tax cut is the same thing as raising your taxes.”

St. Louis radio station KTRS/550 AM pulled the ad from the air Aug. 23.

“As one of the few remaining locally owned radio stations in the country, we feel the need to stand strong with other small, locally-owned business and defend our region,” KTRS General Manager Mark Dorsey said in a news release.

TexasOne, a nonprofit organization Perry helped create, is sponsoring the ads and Perry’s trip. The ads cost $206,400, according to a news release from Perry.

The campaign, called “Texas Wide Open for Business,” has run state-specific ads in New York, Illinois and California, all states with Democratic governors.

In an Illinois radio spot, Perry told listeners to, “Get out while there’s still time.” And in New York, “Get out before you go broke”.

In advance of Perry’s visit to Missouri, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander wrote a letter to the Perry telling him to stay home.

“Simply poaching jobs from one state and bringing them to another doesn’t grow our nation’s economy, so I hope you reconsider your efforts and instead look at ways to cultivate new industries and companies in Texas, rather than just trying to steal other states’ successes,” Kander said in the letter.

Perry will be in the St. Louis area during his visit, meeting with supporters of HB253 who hope to override Nixon’s veto. The bill passed in the House 103-51 and in the Senate 24-9. He will also speak at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce lunch at the St. Louis Club on Thursday.

Other Vetoes

Nixon also gave speeches on other bills he vetoed such as Senate Bill 51 and House Bill 301.

Nixon vetoed SB51 in June. The bill would impose new fees on drivers’ licenses, learners’ permits, identification cards and other licenses, whether renewed or issued. The bill would also increase registration fees on vehicles by 43 percent. Fees to transfer a title would also double, according to Nixon’s veto message.

Nixon rejected HB301 in July for being overly broad. The bill would change laws regarding the sex offender registry. Any person who was charged with a sex crime, including statutory or forcible rape, child molestation and sodomy, as a juvenile would be immediately removed from sex offender websites. Nixon said the changes would affect an estimated 560 sex offenders.

“... (T)he bill would reverse the significant steps that Missouri has taken to protect the rights of victims and would undermine the important public safety functions provided by the sexual offender registry a public notification websites,” Nixon said in his veto message.

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