Group comes out against income tax cut bill

Coalition for Missouri's Future believes education would be affected most by the income tax cut bill

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A group composed of Missouri business, health and education leaders backed Gov. Jay Nixon Monday on a controversial income tax cut bill.

ABC 17 News has been following the issues surrounding House Bill 253 since the end of the legislative session in May. The bill would give an income tax cut for the first time in more than 90 years.

Nixon vetoed the bill and has been campaigning to sustain the veto for about four months. He claims the bill would cost the state $800 million each year.

Republican lawmakers say the numbers coming out of the governor's office are inaccurate. They believe Nixon is just using scare tactics.

Coalition for Missouri's Future officials said there are too many uncertainties. They said the bill looks good on the surface, but when they look into the details, they're worried it will be harmful to education.

Officials with the group said that in past years, education has been one of the hardest-hit areas. Officials claim that will be exactly what happens again if lawmakers override the governor's veto. They believe it would lead to teacher layoffs, overcrowded class rooms and many more problems.

"This bill has the potential to halt technology upgrades, eliminate many after-school activities such as sports programs, and limit the variety of classes available to Missouri students," Missouri School Board Association president-elect Doug Whitehead said.

However, Republicans do not feel the same way. Party leaders have said that taxpayers deserve some relief. They also claim the governor is using the worst-case-scenario numbers.

Republicans say Missourians know how to spend their hard-earned money better than the state does and that's why it's important to override the governor now. They said it will also spur the state's economy by enticing people to spend more.

Coalition for Missouri's Future leaders aren't buying it. They claim now is not the time for experiments. Officials believe programs like First Steps or Parents as Teachers could be lost. They say Missouri students would be at a disadvantage compared to the rest of the country.

"We're not going to put our state in a downward trend of financial support of all those obligations we have committed to Missourians," Missouri School Board Association Executive Director Carter Ward said.

Group leaders said even though all of these situations are hypothetical, they still don't think lawmakers should override the veto at the expense of education.

In order for lawmakers to override the governor's veto, there would have to be 109 votes in the House and 23 in the Senate. The veto session will begin on Wednesday.

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