Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Thursday raised new issues with a tax-cut bill that Republican lawmakers regard as perhaps the crowning achievement of the 2013 session.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican, would slash Missouri income taxes to help the state compete with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s aggressive income-tax cuts.
Nixon said after a review of the bill, his staff found that it could result in a $200 million tax increase on prescription drug users. The measure eliminated a sales tax exemption on prescription drugs.
“If enacted, this provision would impose a $200 million sales tax hike on Missourians and increase the cost of the medications they need. This is a tax increase that Missourians cannot afford and don’t deserve,” Nixon said.
Kraus shot back with his own statement saying the problem could be easily fixed.
“I urge the governor to sign HB 253, which would provide broad-based tax relief to Missouri’s residents and businesses,” he said.
Nixon wasn’t buying it. He issued a second statement later in the day saying that while Kraus may not consider a $200 million tax increase “a cause for immediate concern, I do.
“For Missouri seniors and others who rely on prescription drugs to stay healthy, this is a very serious matter,” Nixon said. “Unfortunately, this is only one of many red flags that the ongoing assessment of this legislation has raised. I will continue to review this bill carefully and identify any other problems as expeditiously as possible.”
Prediction: The governor will veto it.