While praising Kansas’ tax policy, Rex Sinquefield calls Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ‘an idiot’

05/30/2014 8:46 AM

06/03/2014 2:23 PM

Rex Sinquefield sees one major obstacle to his goal of eliminating the income tax in Missouri: Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon.

The retired financier, who has spent more than $30 million on Missouri campaigns in recent years, heaped praise on Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and scorn on Missouri’s governor at a forum hosted by the conservative think tank Heritage Foundation.

“Kansas has three great things going for it,” he said. “First of all, it has a great governor. Secondly, it has a great tax policy. Thirdly, and most important, Missouri has an idiot for a governor.”

The GOP megadonor, who rarely grants interviews or speaks publicly, vowed to continue his battle to slash taxes in the Show-Me State.

“We’re going to try in Missouri” to eliminate the income tax, Sinquefield said. But “we have to get a new governor.”

Sinquefield’s remarks Thursday were part of a forum held to promote a book he co-authored called “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States: How Taxes, Energy and Worker Freedom Change Everything.”

They also come just weeks after Missouri’s Republican-dominated General Assembly forced through a $620 million income tax cut this year by overriding Nixon’s veto.

That cut, however, didn’t go far enough, Sinquefield said. He and the “political army” of his top adviser, Travis Brown, will continue to press Missouri lawmakers for deeper income tax cuts.

They will also continue advocating for eliminating the income tax in other states, he said, to force Missouri to respond. He specifically mentioned Oklahoma and Nebraska.

“Frankly, it was Kansas doing that that put pressure on the state of Missouri,” he said. “It’s why I and Travis and his whole political army — last I looked at my checkbook, I think he hires about 1,000 people — it was why we helped Kansas to do it.”

By Friday afternoon, Sinquefield offered an apology of sorts through his spokeswoman.

“While Mr. Sinquefield regrets his personal comments about Gov. Nixon, his remarks were born out of frustration,” said Laura Slay, Sinquefield’s communications director.

Speaking at the forum alongside Sinquefield were Brownback and the co-authors of Sinquefield’s book: Brown, conservative economist Arthur Laffer and the Heritage Foundation’s chief economist, Steve Moore.

To reach Jason Hancock, call 573-634-3565 or send email to jhancock@kcstar.com.

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