CHICAGO — Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed tax break and tax exemption bills, warning that state and local governments couldn't afford the measures approved by lawmakers in the waning hours of their session.
"My vetoes today are a first step toward restoring fiscal sanity to a budget process that has gone off the rails," Nixon said June 11.
Nixon said he would trim the $26.4 billion fiscal 2015 budget if lawmakers override the vetoes.
"I have the responsibility to maintain fiscal discipline regardless of whether my vetoes are sustained. Moving forward, I will take the actions necessary to account for the reduced state revenues resulting from these giveaways and keep our state on a fiscally sustainable path," he said.
Nixon has estimated the impact at $425 million annually in state sales tax revenues and $351 million in local taxes. The fiscal 2015 budget approved by lawmakers did not take into account the lost revenue. Republicans counter that Nixon has exaggerated the impact and the measures would promote job creation.
The various measures provide special breaks for fast food restaurants, personal seat licenses, commercial dry cleaners and laundries, data storage and processing, certain used vehicles, farmers' markets and fitness centers.
Nixon warned that at the local level, the revenue loss could impact repayment of voter-approved bonds issued to finance capital improvements such as county jails, county hospitals, fire stations, emergency management centers, road projects and other critical public infrastructure.
"From storm water management in West Plains to fire protection in Webster Groves, voters in communities across Missouri have come together to pass local sales taxes to support local public services and capital improvements ," Nixon said. "These special breaks passed by the General Assembly would siphon these voter-approved resources away from their intended purpose, and in to the pockets of the well-connected."
Override attempts could come when the legislature meets again in September. The GOP-controlled legislature successfully overrode earlier this year the Democratic governor's veto of a $620 million income tax cut that begins to take effect in 2017.