(AP) — Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed a package of special sales tax breaks Wednesday for Missouri power companies, restaurants, computer data centers and others, setting up another showdown with a Republican-led Legislature that already has triumphed over him on a historic income tax cut.
Nixon denounced the tax break measures as a “grab bag of generous giveaways” providing “secret sweetheart deals” and “special interest favors” that could bust a $425 million hole in the state budget while also jeopardizing hundreds of millions of dollars of local tax revenues.
While vetoing 10 bills, Nixon also said he would make “dramatic spending reductions” in the coming weeks to guard against the potential for lawmakers to enact the tax breaks by overriding his objections during their September session.
“My vetoes today are the first step toward restoring fiscal sanity to a budget process that has gone off the rails,” Nixon said at a Capitol news conference.
Some Republican lawmakers and business groups immediately vowed to pursue veto overrides. They disputed Nixon’s cost projections and defended the bills as a mixture of important business incentives and mere clarifications of existing tax policies that they contend have been misinterpreted by the courts and Nixon’s administration.
“By vetoing these bills, he has reemphasized the fact that the focus of his tax and spend administration is on growing the size of government rather than growing our economy,” said House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka.
Republicans hold a two-thirds majority required for veto overrides in the Senate and are one seat short of that threshold in the House. But the GOP is likely to gain seats when special elections are held in August for four vacant House districts.