JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri House Republicans erupted into applause on Tuesday when they were joined by one lone Democrat to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of Senate Bill 509, a $620 million tax cut for businesses and individuals.
With the support of Rep. Keith English, D-Florissant, lawmakers struck Nixon with perhaps the largest blow of his second term: A loss on a tax cut.
When enacted, the new law will reduce the maximum tax rate on personal income from 6 to 5.5 percent beginning in 2017 and allow a 25 percent deduction of business income on personal tax returns. Both provisions would be contingent on state revenues being $150 million higher than the highest of the three previous years.
Nixon had relied on a playbook similar to that which he used in his opposition to last year’s tax cut bill, House Bill 253, touting potential cuts to education spending. He also claimed a fatal flaw in the bill that he argued might veto House Bill 253.
Last year, Nixon and Democrats opposing the bill benefited from Republican infighting to the point at which outside conservative groups were calling for the political heads of any Republican who might vote an override attempt. In the end, 15 Republicans sided against the majority of their caucus and the bill failed.
This year, that negative conservative pressure was nowhere to be found. Republicans, led by House Speaker-elect John Diehl, the current majority floor leader, showed a united front in favor of the bill. Republicans were aided by a shortened time frame and a unified caucus.
Unlike last year’s House Bill 253, this year’s tax cut legislation did not include a handful of poison pills that ultimately worked in Nixon’s favor.