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National tax cut battle turns intense in Missouri

  • Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • Gov. Jay Nixon waves to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Gov. Jay Nixon waves to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • Gov. Jay Nixon waves to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Gov. Jay Nixon waves to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
  • Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
  • Gov. Jay Nixon speaks to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
  • Gov. Jay Nixon waves to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
  • Gov. Jay Nixon waves to a crowd at the Harrisonville Community Center in Harrisonville, Mo., Friday, Aug. 23, 2013. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto, a pace appearing to exceed that of last year’s re-election campaign, when he touted his enactment of previous tax cuts. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Millions of dollars spent broadcasting ads. Alarming fliers and phone calls targeting homes. Politicians barnstorming from one press conference to the next.

By most measures, Missouri appears in the midst of another high-stakes election – except there is nothing on the ballot this year.

The massive campaign is meant to persuade – or dissuade – a few wavering Missouri lawmakers who will decide in September whether to override the governor’s veto of the state’s first income tax rate cut in nearly a century.

The Missouri battle is one of the most the intense yet in what has become a nationwide offensive by conservatives in state capitols to slice the income taxes that for decades have formed the financial foundation for government services ranging from public schools to prisons. They contend the tax cuts are the path to economic prosperity. Others forecast financial ruin.

About a dozen states already have cut income taxes this year, including sweeping changes to tax codes in Kansas and North Carolina and a ratcheting down of rates in Arkansas, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. Conservative lawmakers who gathered at a conference this month in Chicago received a how-to pep talk meant to spread the tax-cutting movement even further in 2014.

“This is a national agenda – there’s a lot of other people that have interest in trying to create jobs in America,” said Travis Brown, a St. Louis-based lobbyist and convention speaker who has traveled to 29 states this year promoting lower income taxes.

One of Brown’s biggest benefactors, retired investment firm executive Rex Sinquefield, has poured about $2.4 million into an advertising campaign meant to encourage Missouri’s Republican-led legislature to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the tax cut. The campaign includes the state’s biggest business associations and conservative activist groups such as the Missouri Club for Growth, which has threatened to drop support of any lawmaker who opposes the tax cut.

The tax-cut plan even has gotten the attention of Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a potential 2016 presidential candidate who seized upon Nixon’s veto to target Missouri with TV and radio ads recruiting businesses to Texas. Perry is to headline an event tomorrow in suburban St. Louis sponsored by a coalition pushing for a veto override.

Opponents of the tax cut have responded with mass mailings and phone calls targeting residents in 15 House districts whose Republican legislators seemed susceptible to being swayed. They have been aided by public school boards warning the tax cut would jeopardize education funding and undermine the economy.

Nixon added leverage to his veto by withholding $400 million from education, building projects and other services because of concerns that the tax cut would bust a hole in the budget. The governor said he would release the money only if lawmakers sustain his veto. During the past six weeks, Nixon has held roughly 30 public events to rally support for his veto.

“We’ve worked very hard over the last four years to hold the line on taxes; we’re one of the lowest taxation states in the country,” Nixon said recently. But “this bill is not the right way to go about it.”

The state school boards’ association has warned of consequences, such as crowded classrooms and lower graduation rates.

The Missouri measure would gradually cut the corporate income tax rate nearly in half and lower the top individual tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over the next decade, but only if state revenues rise by at least $100 million annually. It also would phase in a 50 percent tax deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns and increase deductions for low-income individuals. It would trigger even more income tax cuts if Congress passes a measure making it easier for states to tax online sales.

Missouri’s tax plan was prompted largely by a desire to keep pace with neighboring Kansas, where Republican Gov. Sam Brownback signed tax cut measures each of the past two years.

There’s no definitive evidence yet whether the Kansas tax cut will boost or deplete state finances. Kansas tax revenues rose 2.7 percent during the fiscal year that ended in June, which included six months under the new tax cuts. Missouri revenues grew 10 percent during the same period.

Yet Kansas was presented as a shining example during a recent conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council, an association of conservative lawmakers and businesses that crafts model legislation for states.

“The opposition was looking at (the tax cut) and saying these are draconian cuts – you’ll not be able to support your school system, the education system, the core services of government,” said Kansas Rep. Richard Carlson, a Republican who is chairman of the House Taxation Committee. “I maintain we cannot support those core services of government unless we grow the private sector.”

Legacy Comments4

Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of the tax cut...that is not news ...... that is the tax and spend ways of all democrats. Trusting a Democrat in a budget negotiation not to raises taxes is like Charlie Brown telling himself that, this time, Lucy won't pull the football away.

Is it tax and spend Democrats or is it a Govoner who has the welfare of the people at heart and want s to insure that roads, bridges, schools, fire and police can continue to operate. The right's mantra of cut cut cut have led to the problems in this country with failing bridges and roads, ineffective scholls and the need for ever increasing policing due to the lack of social services that could prevent most crimes. As these things occur then businesses leave raising unemployment and creating even more stress on the public that leads to more crime and poverty. Keep it up conservative right and you'll need your guns as society collapes through your failure to embrace and support it..

Let's look at your assessment and support of taking more hard earned tax dollars from hard working New Hampshire citizens. First and foremost I thought that the stimulus was supposed to take care of infrastructure? Well, it hasn't scratched the surface. Ineffective schools? We have been throwing money right and left at education for decades and to what avail? You agree that they are "failing". Police? My town has twice the population it had in the 1970's and 5 times more police and what are they doing? Answer: revenue enhancement (radar patrol) and try to get one on a weekend....impossible. The fire department went from volunteer to paid and is very expensive with people creating their own kingdom. You want jobs, support domestic oil production.....oh no, democrats won't allow that. We need jobs and Obama policies are killing them.....so the collapse will be on you and the Left.

Societal collapse?? Seems to be happening already..in the liberal cities.

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