Earlier this year, Missouri lawmakers succeeded in passing a number of bills to reform Missouri’s tax system, create a better business climate and invest in some of tomorrow’s most promising employment sectors.
But today, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon used his veto power to stand in the way of economic progress.
The governor took a broad veto action, obstructing legislative proposals that aim to help Missouri businesses expand and attract new investment in our state. He also indicated he may withhold funding from important state efforts if Missouri lawmakers override his vetoes, an action that would deceptively portray our state’s economic health as being in conflict with the interests of education and other critical state programs.
“What we are seeing is a roadblock mentality. Throughout this past session, the governor refused to engage in the legislative process. Now, when he has the opportunity to sign bills that will help our economy, he has chosen instead to use his veto as an impediment to growth,” said Daniel P. Mehan, Missouri Chamber President and CEO. “We hope our friends in the legislature will see through the distortions in the governor’s veto letter, which are built on flawed calculations and philosophically hollow assumptions. Fortunately, another route is available. Let’s use the legislature’s override power to finish our job and put Missouri’s economy on the road to growth.”
The legislative proposals vetoed by the governor include:
- An effort to ensure all Missouri taxpayers are treated as innocent until proven guilty in the state’s tax courts. Currently, some business taxpayers are unfairly presumed guilty in tax court. This provision is included in Senate Bill 584, House Bill 1455 and Senate Bill 829.
- A clarification of corporate apportionment legislation passed in 2013 to ensure all companies can utilize this new statute whether they manufacture products or sell services or other intangibles. This provision is included in Senate Bill 612, Senate Bill 584, House Bill 1296, House Bill 1865, Senate Bill 662 and Senate Bill 693.
- A requirement that the Department of Revenue must notify businesses when they make a change in their interpretation of the state’s sales tax laws. This provision is also included in Senate Bill 612 and Senate Bill 662.
- A proposal to attract data center investment in Missouri by creating a state and local sales tax exemption for resources or equipment used or consumed in the production or facilitation of a data center, including utilities and electricity. This provision is included in Senate Bill 584.
In an attempt to dissuade lawmakers from supporting an override, the governor made a thinly-veiled threat to use his power to withhold funding from key state programs if the legislature rejects his veto. This Missouri Chamber argues that this is a false choice.
“Lawmakers need to see through this withholding threat,” said Mehan. “We need to get beyond the governor’s intimidation tactics and fulfill our vision of economic growth for our state. It’s simple, a stronger economy means more funding for education and other important state programs. We ask the legislature to use their override powers to make these bills law and help grow our economy.”