Gov. Nixon in Columbia to Discuss Special Tax Breaks

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COLUMBIA - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has been travelling the state to discuss his decision to veto legislation containing special tax breaks and exemptions for businesses. Wednesday morning, he visited Columbia for a round-table discussion with mid-Missouri officials at the Boone County Commission Chambers.

The General Assembly passed the special tax breaks and exemptions during the 2014 legislative session. The Governor vetoed them last Wednesday. In total he vetoed 10 bills dubbed "Friday Favors."

Matt Wills, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, said, "Jay Nixon must be confused in his objections to what he calls the 'Friday Favors.' Just last year, he called legislators back into session to pass tax breaks and incentives for his hand picked special interest."

The governor said the provisions in the bills would reduce state and local revenues by up to $776 million annually. Most of the provisions, he said, would impact sales tax collections and therefore would significantly reduce local tax revenues that support police, fire, ambulance, emergency services, parks and other public services provided at the local level. 

At the meeting, the City of Columbia officials said 90 percent of the city's revenue comes from sales tax and 70 percent of Boone County revenue comes from sales tax. 

Nixon told city and county officials, "Your jobs are hard enough without Jefferson City folks coming in and pulling the rug out from underneath you."

Nixon said he estimates that each year in the future, Columbia would lose $5.7 million in sales tax revenue and Boone County would lose $4.6 million. He said those may be conservative estimates.

"We all know sales tax continues to lag behind other economic indicators," Nixon said. He continued, "And one of the reasons is there's all of these hundreds of exemptions and sales tax breaks that keep blowing it up. Adding these makes it even harder."

Wills does not agree with what Nixon is doing. Willis said, "Jay Nixon has made it a habit to barnstorm the state, on the taxpayer dime no less, to offer failed partisan rhetoric on lower taxes for all Missourians. This governor has been the absentee governor to the legislature."

Decisions will be made further at the veto session the second week of September.