Tax Cut Bill Hinges on JeffCo Legislators

2 Aug

The Missouri Legislature will have a busy veto override session next month, with 29 vetoed bills to consider. One of the bills Governor Jay Nixon vetoed was HB 253, which would gradually cut the top personal income tax rate from 6% to 5.5% and reduce the corporate income tax by 3%. The bill passed the House with 103 votes during the regular session. It will require 109 votes to override, and there are three GOP House members that voted against the bill, including our own Elaine Gannon from the 115th district. Three Democrats voted for the bill, including our own Jeff Roorda from the 113th. As such, our local legislators will play an important role in deciding the ultimate fate of the tax cut.

Roorda has gone from being for the tax cut to being undecided. The other two Dems that voted for the cut are now against it. Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, who recently expressed pessimism about the chances of a successful override, told the STL Beacon that he called Roorda Wednesday, and that Roorda “remains in play” regarding any override. The call may have been a result of this tweet from Roorda, who apparently doesn’t want his phones blown up:

Roorda is running for a state senate seat next year. For campaign purposes, he would probably like it if no override vote was held. Then he could campaign on the fact that he voted for a tax cut (pending what happens in next year’s session). The retort to that would be a sound bite-unfriendly explanation of how his failure to commit to override helped ultimately kill the bill (he voted for it before he voted against it, in a way).

Gannon is also undecided, as are the other two GOPers that voted no. Gannon has tangled with Jones before. She voted against his education reform plan, which led to her ouster from the House education committee. A no vote here will put her firmly in the party doghouse. This sums up her conflict pretty well:

Gannon, who feared the income tax cut could adversely affect education funding, said she already has received several emails and text messages from constituents in support of the tax cut.

She ultimately may have to make a pressure-packed choice: Does she stick with her original reservations and vote “no,” or stand by the political party that helped her win election and vote “yes?”

“We’ll see,” she said.

Roorda is surely feeling similar pressure to stick with his party. This may be one of those situations where calling your legislator might make a difference.

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