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Coalition Calling For Override Of Tax Cut Veto Brings Tour To Mo. Capital City

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

While Governor Jay Nixon (D) continues touring Missouri to oppose efforts to override his veto of tax cut legislation, a group of business officials and political activists are trying to rally support for the override effort.

The group calls itself the Grow Missouri Coalition.  It includes the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Missouri Club for Growth, Americans for Prosperity and United for Missouri.  Dan Mehan, President and CEO of the Missouri Chamber, told reporters in Jefferson City Friday that overriding the veto of House Bill 253 would provide tax relief that would in turn spur job growth.

"You look at what Kansas has done, and we're not saying we have to be exactly like Kansas at all, but their unemployment rate is down to 5.5 percent – ours is at 6.6 (percent)," Mehan said.  "I think any politician wants to generate jobs, (and) this is one way to do it."

A spokesperson for the group says more tour stops are planned, but won't yet say when or where.  Meanwhile, Brent Ghan is from another group that supports the Governor's veto -- it's called  the Coalition for Missouri's Future.  He was waiting outside Missouri Chamber offices to talk to reporters after the Grow Missouri Coalition's meeting.  Ghan says investing in education, instead of gutting it with tax cuts, will grow Missouri's economy.

"There are lots of studies that would indicate that we're going to have to have a highly-educated work force to compete in the global economy that we're already in," Ghan said.  "To make a dis-investment in education, which is what this tax cut bill would do, is exactly the wrong direction to go."

Ghan also works as chief communications officer for the Missouri School Boards Association, but says he was at that moment representing the Coalition for Missouri's Future.

The pro-override group may target Republican lawmakers who choose to side with Governor Nixon and not vote for an override.  Bev Randles of Missouri Club for Growth says overturning the veto on House Bill 253 is her group's top issue this year.

"If a person who says that they're a conservative doesn't vote for this override, they're not going to get our support next year, that's for certain," Randles said.  "It is very likely we'll be looking for somebody to run against them."

Governor Nixon has spent the summer touring Missouri and telling citizens that overturning his veto on the tax cut bill would gut funding for K-12 schools and vital social services.

Meanwhile, Missouri Chamber officials and other Grow Missouri Coalition members are scheduled to take part next week in an event featuring Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), who's launched an ad campaign urging Missouri businesses to relocate to the Lone Star State.  In one ad, Perry mentions Nixon's veto of House Bill 253 as an example of an increased tax burden.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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