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Governors from Missouri, Texas spar over tax cut

Updated: 2013-08-30T01:21:54Z

By JIM SALTER The Associated Press

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry warned Thursday that unless Missouri lawmakers override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of an income tax cut, he won’t be the only governor trying to lure business away from Missouri.

Perry, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate, had the final word as two governors made appearances in the St. Louis area Thursday in which they offered widely different views of Missouri’s income tax cut plan.

Nixon spoke at the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments in Richmond Heights, calling House Bill 253 a “reckless experiment” that would cause deep cuts in services for children with disabilities and threaten economic progress in the Show-Me State.

Meanwhile, Perry spoke at a private gathering in Clayton hosted by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, appeared on KMOX Radio and spoke at an evening rally in an event tent on the parking lot of a Chesterfield hotel.

At the rally, Perry made no apologies for a series of ads airing in Missouri that criticize Nixon’s veto and tout Texas as a good place to do business. He said he isn’t offended when Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor from neighboring Louisiana, tries to poach business from Texas.

“By competing against each other we make each other stronger,” Perry said.

Perry said Missouri lawmakers need to realize that Kansas and other states that neighbor the Show-Me State are watching to see how they react to Nixon’s veto.

“If they see the continual taxation burden in Missouri, it’s not just going to be Rick Perry showing up in Missouri knocking on the doors of all the businesses,” Perry said.

At the center of everything is Nixon’s veto of the bill that would gradually reduce Missouri’s corporate income tax rate to nearly half its current level and lower the top tax rate for individuals from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over the next decade, so long as state revenues continue to rise by at least $100 million annually. It also would phase in a 50 percent tax deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns.

Lawmakers convene Sept. 11 to consider an override.

Nixon, speaking to more than 100 supporters at the center for visually impaired children, said Missouri isn’t competing against other states, it is competing globally. He said the income tax cut would benefit lawyers and lobbyists while hurting schools, developmentally disabled children and others in need. He said the First Steps program that helps infants and toddlers with blindness and other developmental problems would lose about $1.8 million, resulting in the loss of service to about 200 children.

Perry has drawn considerable attention in recent days for advertisements running in Missouri paid for by TexasOne, a public-private marketing partnership, in which Perry criticizes Nixon’s veto while promoting Texas as a better place to do business.

Much of the marketing campaign to convince lawmakers to override Nixon’s veto is paid for by St. Louis businessman Rex Sinquefield, who has contributed nearly $2.4 million to various groups supporting the override.

“One reckless experiment cooked up by a few special interests, bankrolled by one very wealthy individual threatens all the progress we’ve made and could make to help children with developmental challenges,” Nixon said.

Earlier Thursday, Nixon appeared at the groundbreaking for a road improvement that he said would facilitate a $3 million expansion at Toyota Bodine’s auto parts manufacturing plant in Troy, about 50 miles northwest of St. Louis. Nixon said the expansion could add 35 jobs. The state Department of Economic Development said it is providing a $350,000 grant for the project.

“You take this fiscal experiment they’re running and take $850 million of general revenue out of this budget and imperil our triple-A credit rating, it is not the way to move the Show-Me State forward,” Nixon said.

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