Nixon Denies Special Session Request

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JEFFERSON CITY- Gov. Jay Nixon denied a Republican lawmaker's request for a special session Wednesday, meaning lawmakers in favor of the income tax cut bill will have to override the governor's veto next week during the scheduled veto session if they want the bill to become law.

Rep. T.J. Berry, R-Kearney, made his formal letter to Nixon public for the first time today. In the letter, he urges the governor to release the funds he has withheld from education and allow the legislature to meet in a special session.

"I assure you that, if you call the legislature into extraordinary session, we will have a clean tax cut bill on your desk in a matter of days and at a minimal cost to taxpayers," Berry wrote. "I would hope this is an opportunity you will carefully consider as you look at what is in the best interests of Missouri citizens and businesses both now and in the years to come."

Berry said one of the key issues he wanted to address was the issue with the a increased sales tax in prescription drugs. Berry said Republicans did not want to raise the sales tax, and that fixing the error would require nothing but a grammatical fix.

According to Berry, all lawmakers would need to do to eliminate the sales tax increase is move a parenthesis over three words to change the context of the bill.

But Nixon's office said that the issues with House Bill 253 are too difficult for a quick fix.

"The complexities of a wide-ranging tax bill are such that they should be addressed during a regular session, not during the few days of a special session," said Nixon's press secretary, Scott Holste.

Nixon claims the rise in sales tax of prescription drugs would impose a $200 million a year tax hike on prescription drugs.

Kristin Mebruer, pharmacist at Whaley's pharmacy in Jefferson City, said a sales tax hike would compound the already rising cost of prescription drugs.

"A sales tax hike would definitely hurt a lot of Missourians," Mebruer said. "It would have the biggest impact for people who rely on Medicare."

With the absence of a special session, Republicans are looking to overturn Nixon's veto next Wednesday during the scheduled veto session.

House Republicans will need 109 votes to overturn the governor's veto.

To read Rep. Berry's letter in its entirety: BERRYLETTER.pdf