View from the Capitol by State Rep. Ed Schieffer

Ed Schieffer

Ed Schieffer

The morning after a twelve hour veto session, there is much to report. Way more than one article can handle so starting today, and it will take several weeks, I will share what happened in the Veto Session. You may go to the House website listed at the bottom of the article for the entire list.

First, I am happy to report that the only “line item veto” to be overridden on HB 19, will give $1 million from the Fair Share Fund for reconstruction of the main buildings for the Pike-Lincoln Technical School in Eolia. Representative Hansen and I testified before the entire House of Representatives supporting the necessary money because there was not enough fire insurance to cover the cost. Both the House and Senate voted to help Superintendent Mark Harvey to construct a new building which should save a valuable educational and economical asset for our community for years to come.

Perhaps even more important for all public education and mental health in Missouri was the vote to sustain the Governor’s veto on HB 253, the tax bill. The bill vetoed by the Governor would have drained hundreds of millions each year from local school districts across the state. Gov. Nixon applauded the Missouri House of Representatives for sustaining his veto of HB 253, which he vetoed in June warning that its unaffordable price tag would have a devastating impact on public schools and other vital services.

“Missourians are fiscally conservative folks who want good jobs in the communities and quality schools for their kids,” Gov. Nixon said. “Over the past several months they have fought to defend those bedrock principles from being undermined by a reckless experiment – today, they won. I applaud the legislators from both parties who came together to sustain my veto of this fiscally irresponsible bill, which would have defunded our schools and weakened our economy. Today’s vote represents a defining moment for our state and a victory for all Missourians.”

The coalition supporting the Governor’s veto of House Bill 253 included more than 150 groups representing educators, business leaders, health providers, first responders and Missourians with disabilities. Business groups opposing HB 253 included the Civic Council of Greater Kansas City and the chambers of commerce in Springfield, Columbia, Callaway and Hallsville.

House Democrats spearheaded the defeat of HB 253, an $800 million a year tax giveaway for corporations and the wealthy that would have gutted state spending on education and other vital services while imposing a $200 million a year tax increase on Missourians who use prescription drugs. Everyone talking medicine would have been charged sales tax.

Unified House Democrats were joined by 15 House Republicans in opposing the bill. The bipartisan opposition to HB 253, which included several lawmakers who originally supported it, demonstrates the serious flaws with the bill and devastating consequences that would have resulted had it become law. I was one of those.

Originally, we were told that we would go after $400 million for internet sales tax to compensate for the loss of state revenue. Later, that amount was dropped to $200 million and that the federal government was supposed to pass a law to help all the states collect internet sales tax, which still hasn’t happened. None of us were told that pharmaceuticals would be taxed. That made me rethink my support. In states, like Texas, where there is no income tax, the revenue is made up by much higher property taxes and sales taxes than our state. To keep a balanced budget in Missouri, we cannot give any group money without taking it away from others. There is no surplus money in the state budget because the Hancock Amendment does not allow it.

As always, I respect your trust and value your advice, comments and questions. Let me know how I may serve you and your family. Now that the Legislature is adjourned, I am home in the District. I would be available to meet with groups or individuals locally. Please call me at (573)751-9459, toll free at (855)285-3781, locally at (636)299-3270 or (636)462-7295. If you wish to fax my office, our number is (573)522-0441. You may email me at ed.schieffer@house.mo.gov or elected11thmorep@excite.com. You may also check the final outcome of legislation at http://house.mo.gov.

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Posted on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 1:47 pm