Speaker Jones fires back at governor’s tax incentive claims

Republican House Speaker Tim Jones fired back Wednesday to claims made by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon that the legislature went on a “special interest spending spree” on the final day of session.

That day, lawmakers passed eight bills that included potentially millions in new tax incentives for businesses.

“These are much-needed clarifications to our tax laws that will prevent the governor from exceeding his authority by unfairly collecting more taxes from our employers who create the family-supporting jobs that drive our economic engine,” Jones said. “Business leaders around our state have made it clear they are greatly displeased with the way the chief executive has chosen to narrowly interpret many of our existing tax exemptions so that he can collect more of our tax dollars to further grow the size of government.”

Jones, in his statement, added, “As a legislative body we came together to stand in defense of the taxpayers and to provide a shield against the glaring overreaches made by the executive branch. The governor fails to understand that these dollars do not belong to him, they were earned by Missouri businesses of all sizes that are the lifeblood of our economy and the providers of jobs.”

Nixon went on a tour Wednesday critical of what he said were $766 million in new incentives passed in House Bills 1296 and 1865, and Senate Bills 584, 612, 662, 693, 727 and 860, all passed on Friday, May 16.

Tax incentives credits have been the centerpiece of Missouri’s tax code fight in recent years. All parties have called for “tax credit reform”, but have always been unable to reach agreement over sticking points surrounding the state’s largest programs – credits for development of low-income housing and redeveloping historic properties.

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