Missouri Governor Jay Nixon vetoed a major tax reform measure today that would have seen individual and corporate income tax rates reduced over the next several years. It was the first time in roughly 90 years that comprehensive tax reform had a real chance of being enacted in the Show Me State. If HB 253 had been signed by Gov. Nixon, the legislation would have saved families and businesses $700 million when fully phased in. Now Missouri could see residents and businesses cross the state line into economically competitive Kansas, which already enjoys lower tax rates, and where Gov. Sam Brownback promises to take the state income tax rate to zero.
If Governor Nixon was truly concerned about competing with Kansas’s better business climate and lower taxes, then signing HB 253 into law would have been a good first step. Instead, the Democrat Governor has seen fit to re-enforce the image that Missouri would rather act like Illinois when it comes to taxes than Kansas or Texas.
While HB 253 may not have been perfect, it was a good start to enacting comprehensive tax reform in the Show Me State. It is now up to the Missouri State Legislature to override Gov. Nixon’s veto, or start over when the legislature reconvenes. With Kansas and other regional neighbors committed to reducing taxes for their residents and employers, Missouri could end up losing more businesses and pro-economic growth opportunities and join Illinois as one of the least economically sound states in the country.