A group of educators criticized a tax cut bill today that could severely hinder schools in Missouri. They maintained that the bill, which Governor Jay Nixon vetoed in June, would cut revenue for the state by $800 million and result in reduced funding for education.
The superintendents from the Northwest, Washington and Hazelwood School Districts argued that the bill would have detrimental effects on their districts. Hazelwood superintendent Grayling Tobias said the bill could cause budget cuts for equipment and extracurricular activities, larger class sizes and fewer teachers.
“It would mean possibly eliminating 107 teachers,” Tobias said. “Which means it would negatively affect our children in the district."
Republican backers of the bill say the cuts are important to compete with neighboring states like Kansas, but all three superintendents said that jobs are created by a well-educated populace, not by tax cuts for businesses.
The district superintendents were accompanied by University of Missouri - St. Louis chancellor Thomas George, who pointed to Express Scripts' decision to stay in Missouri as proof of the importance of education.
“A major factor in retaining them when they were thinking about moving was higher education and K-12 being able to provide an educated workforce,” said George.
George added that he was opposed to this tax cut, but wouldn’t be opposed to something he said would be better crafted.
Republican senators and representatives will decide Wednesday if they are going to bring the bill to a vote. All signs point to them not having enough votes to override the veto, but Republican lawmakers say they will be back with a similar bill next year.
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