Nixon: Lawmakers' Tax Breaks Could Hurt City, County Budgets

By Matt Lupoli |

Published 06/01 2014 05:52PM

Updated 06/01 2014 10:50PM

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The legislative session is over, but Gov. Jay Nixon says a series of bills that passed on its last day could be damaging to the state and local governments.

"With almost no debate, lawmakers quietly passed more than a dozen special handouts for a slew of special interests -- fast food restaurants, power companies ... and the list goes on and on," Nixon said.

Nixon said the tax breaks and extensions passed through eight bills, House Bills 1296 and 1865, and Senate Bills 584, 612, 662, 693, 727 and 860, could take $425 million from the state budget and an additional $350 million of city and county budgets.

"Not a penny of it (was) accounted for in the budget that was sent to my desk," Nixon said about the budget lawmakers passed on May 9, a week ahead of the tax exemptions.

The governor's office says these exemptions largely impact sales taxes and that's why they could have a large local impact.

"We're talking about firefighters and cops, libraries and ambulance services, snow plows, health inspectors, public transport and road repair," Nixon said.

In Greene County, the governor's office says a 2 percent cut -- nearly $7.5 million of the annual $57 million dollar sales tax distribution -- could be imposed. Within the city of Springfield, the estimate is higher, a $10.7 million cut from nearly $82 million -- a 3 percent difference.

Speaker of the House Tim Jones (R-Eureka) said. the governor's concerns and estimates are made of half-truths and hyperbole.

"These are much-needed clarifications to our tax laws that will prevent the governor from exceeding his authority by unfairly collecting more taxes from our employers who create the family-supporting jobs that drive our economic engine," Jones said in a statement.

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