Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday said a major tax-cut bill would result in higher costs for college students.
In a speech today to college officials, Nixon said House Bill 253 would repeal the sales tax exemption on college text books.
Nixon vetoed the bill, sponsored by state Sen. Will Kraus, a Lee’s Summit Republican. But GOP leaders have said they will try to override the veto in September. The governor’s now campaigning against that override attempt.
Kraus and others say the bill would help Missouri compete with Kansas, which has implemented sweeping income-tax cuts for indivdiuals and businesses.
But Nixon has said Missouri already is a low-tax state.
“Over the past four years, through some very challenging economic times, we had to make the tough but necessary decisions to keep our budget in balance and continue moving Missouri forward,” Nixon told the university leaders.
“We challenged our higher education institutions to do more with less, cut under-performing academic programs, increase accountability, and hold down tuition – and that is exactly what we did.
“Today, Missouri leads the nation in holding down college costs, more students are pursuing a post-secondary education than ever before, and this year we will implement a performance-based funding model that rewards schools based on results. At a time when a highly trained workforce is more essential than ever to competing and winning in the global economy, House Bill 253 would undermine our ability to provide the high quality, affordable higher education options Missouri students need and deserve.”
Nixon’s office said the bill would cost the state more than $800 million when fully implemented, the equivalent of cutting all public support for higher education, closing all of Missouri’s prisons, or eliminating the Department of Mental Health. Such a drastic reduction in state revenue would force deep cuts to vital public services, including funding for higher education and scholarships.
“House Bill 253 poses a serious threat to college quality and affordability in the Show-Me State,” said Dr.John Jasinski, the newly elected president of the Council on Public Higher Education (COPHE) and president of Northwest Missouri State University.