Today, as my fellow-blogger Michael Bersin has already informed us, the Missouri House failed to override Governor Nixon’s veto of the infamous corporate tax cut bill which failed on a 94-67 vote, short of the two thirds majority needed to override. That means it’s over and done with, gone away, dead – for now.
It is true that HB253 was a poorly written bill, rife with unintended consequences. It was also, however, a conceptually bad idea from the point of view of economic policy, even had the folks who put it together had sufficient brain power to do it in a cleaner fashion. And it’s important to remember that fact because indications are that it’ll be back soon, and next time the petty stupidities that plagued the bill and that persuaded some of the more thoughtful Republicans to uphold the veto, may be gone and we’ll have to try once more to fend off the bad policy it embodies – trickle down economics via monster tax cuts for corporations, big cuts for wealthy individuals and symbolic tax cuts for everyone else, the state’s solvency be dammed.
Earlier, when confronted with the obvious fact that the override effort might fail, Speaker Tim Jones had been emphatic that he wasn’t going to let this failure derail his goal, declaring that in such a case “income tax cuts will be a big priority next year.” Today, after losing the override vote, Jones confirmed that he has no intention of letting sleeping dogs lie when it comes to radical tax “reform”:
In a statement released after the vote, House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, said: “This is only a temporary setback for the majority of House members who believe substantive tax relief is the best way to grow our economy and to help the hard-working Missourians who deserve to keep more of their hard-earned dollars. … We will not be swayed from our efforts to provide Missourians with the tax relief they deserve and we will make a tax cut our top legislative priority when we return for the 2014 legislative session in January.”
As for the bill’s chief sponsor, Rex Sinquefield, the $2.4 million dollars the billionaire spent promoting HB253 can easily be written off as a down payment; a first gambit in a game in which he plans to wear down the resistance with a combination of big spending and persistence. Nor, I suspect, will the Missouri Chamber of Commerce let Speaker Jones down when he revives his signature initiative, even though many commonsensical, local Chambers of Congress broke with the big daddy organization and urged that the veto be sustained.
What can we learn from these facts? That these clowns just won’t give up. And they’ve got lots of money behind them. And if we really support progressive government, we can’t give up and sit on our – or the Governor’s – HB 253 laurels. We have to be ready for 2014 and this badly thought out tax “reform” needs to be one of the issues we trot out to make our case against the corporate-owned marauders currently holding the statehouse.