MU Debates Income Tax Bill

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COLUMBIA - After publicly announcing his opposition to House Bill 253, Missouri Students Association President Nick Droege hosted a panel Thursday to discuss the bill's possible effects on MU. University of Missouri System President Tim Wolfe, Chancellor Brady Deaton and three Missouri legislators also spoke.

The bill was intended to lower the state's income tax. Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed the bill, but lawmakers will discuss it again during a veto session that begins next week.

At the MSA-sponsored forum, the most discussed topic was increased university tuition. Wolfe has previously stated the university would need to raise tuition 8 to 16 percent as a result of the bill. Droege said textbook prices would also be raised by 4 percent.

Representative Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, defended the bill against those who claim it attacks education.

"I believe that the governor's assertion that you either are for House Bill 253 or you are for education, but you can't be for both, is the most ridiculous comment I have heard in my...time in elected office," Rowden said.

Representative Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, called the bill "sloppy."

"Every year for 12, 13 years now as [Representative John Wright] says, it's been 'we're only going to hurt you a little bit,'" Kelly said. "That's not what we should be doing with a great institution."

Wright encouraged students to fully read the bill to understand its possible implications.