Mo. Advertisements Push for Tax Cuts

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JEFFERSON CITY - For the first time Monday, Missourians saw television advertisements from the Missouri Club for Growth advocating for a massive tax cut bill. 

The commercials are part of an advertising blitz launched by conservative interest groups  in anticipation of September's veto session, when many lawmakers will attempt to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of House Bill 253.

The General Assembly passed the bill in May and supporters promoted it as Missouri's first tax cut in more than a century. Supporters have also viewed the bill as a way to fight back against Kansas, which lowered its income tax rates in May 2012.

The bill would lower the top 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 by phasing in the rate reductions each year over the next decade.  The bill would also allow filers claiming business income on personal returns to deduct 50 percent of their business income in 2019.

Nixon vetoed the bill in June because it would "jeopardize vital public services and undermine economic growth."

Nixon withheld $400 million worth of projected state spending at the beginning of the 2014 fiscal year and has announced that he will not release the funding unless the General Assembly sustains the veto.

However, conservative donors, including mega-donor Rex Sinquefield, have spent millions to spur ad campaigns and urge an override of the veto. Sinquefield has spent $2.4 million of his own money, according to finance reports. 

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Missouri chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business and the Associated Industries of Missouri combined efforts to create Grow Missouri, a political action committee, in July. The group has spent $1.3 million to run two television ads in recent weeks.

Although opponents of the tax cut have not launched an advertising campaign, several groups have become active through the Coalition for Missouri's Future. The Missouri Hospital Association, Missouri State Teachers Association and several other groups have backed the tax-cut focused opposition effort.

The House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 103 to 51 during the legislative session, and supporters will need 109 votes, which is the number of votes required to constitute a two-thirds majority.

In the final Housel vote, three Democrats voted yes, three Republicans voted no and seven of the nine representatives absent were Republicans. The bill received 23 affirmative votes in the Senate, which constituted a two-thirds majority. No senators have publicly announced a change in their position.