Columbia school board takes a stance on income tax cut bill

Columbia School Board backs Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of income tax cut bill

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Columbia Board of Education met Thursday morning to talk about a controversial bill and ended up passing a resolution to back Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of an income tax cut bill.

The governor has campaigned around the state saying if lawmakers override his veto of House Bill 253, the state would lose about $800 million each year. But lawmakers have said these are the worst case scenarios and Nixon is using scare tactics.

Columbia is the 64th district to take the governor's side.

Board members said they are concerned and there are a lot of unknowns, but they can't afford to put the district in that situation. The board said they know they aren't the ones that will make the call, but they hope this resolution will send a message that they don't want lawmakers to override to governor's veto.

The majority of the school board's conversation was around the potential loss of state funding. They say schools have received decreasing funding for the past several years.

Currently, the governor has withheld the majority of money from elementary and secondary education in order to persuade others people to put heat on their local lawmakers. The governor has said before if lawmakers don't override him, he will release the money.

"We know we're going to receive less and we're going to have to rely on our local taxpayers to spend more in order for us to collect the sales tax," Columbia school board president Christine King said.

The Missouri School Board Association has pushed for districts all over the state to take a stance on the issue.

ABC 17 News broke down all 64 districts to see who represents them in the House and what their political party is by entering the ZIP code of where the school districts office is located. Of the 64 school districts, 38 of them were in Republican areas and only seven in Democratic areas. Nineteen more districts were in areas where students came from both Republican and Democratic areas.

Republican leaders have said they want to help Missourians out anyway possible. They believe overriding the governor will also make the state more competitive with neighboring states in attracting businesses.

Board members said there is just too much they don't know about to back the bill.

"I wasn't necessarily in favor of doing a resolution (Thursday) but I do feel that we need to send our message to the powers that be before their veto session," King said.

Board members said they don't want to be political, but they have to protect the school district.

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