Nixon, Mo. House, clash over tax breaks

Jefferson City, Mo. – A war of words erupted today between Democratic Governor Jay Nixon and the Republican-controlled Missouri House over the use of tax credits.

Surrounded by a crowd of educators from K-12 schools, community colleges and universities, Governor Nixon called on lawmakers to support his plan to reduce the number of tax breaks handed out each year.

"Every dollar we spend on tax credits is a dollar that isn't available for K-12 schools to invest in teaching, reading, math and science," Nixon said.

Nixon's proposal would also hand oversight of tax credits to the Department of Economic Development, which reports to the Governor's office.

GOP leaders in the Missouri House condemned the proposal, calling it a power grab. House Speaker Ron Richard (R, Joplin) says it won't happen on his watch.

"In my short experience in economic development, when you centralize power, particularly in economic development, it turns into political payoffs, and I'm not going to do that," Richard said.

Richard added that cutting tax breaks would send a shockwave of economic uncertainty throughout Missouri's business community. He was also critical of a group of Republican state senators who are opposing the creation of any new tax credits, and who want all incentives subject to appropriations.