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Nixon Criticizes Tax Cut Bill, DMV Funding

Marshall Griffin
St. Louis Public Radio

Missoui Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, delivered a mixed report card Friday on the state budget and other bills passed by the Republican-controlledMissouri General Assemblythis week.

While he complimented lawmakers for increasing funding for K-12 schools and higher education, he also criticized them for passing legislation that would cut state income tax rates for individuals and corporations.  He told reporters that the bill would gut state revenues by more than $800 million.

"The equivalent of wiping out all of public higher education, or closing all our prisons, or eliminating the Department of Mental Health and its services it provides is not a fiscally responsible approach," Nixon said.

Nixon stopped short of saying he would veto the bill, but indicated that it's likely.  He also chastised lawmakers for only funding the state's Motor Vehicles division for eight months, after saying on Wednesday that the move would force him to lay off state workers.  He said it could actually threaten Missouri's AAA bond rating, which he also announced was renewed this week.

"I'm not gonna operate this government on two-thirds of a budget, whether it's this part of it or any part," Nixon said.  "I'm just not gonna do it, no Governor would do that – it's not the way to operate your budget."

Nixon said he would work to minimize the impact of the 8-month DMV budget, indicating that he's not backing down from his promise to lay off state workers starting July 1st.  He also chided lawmakers for approving $38 million to build a new headquarters for MoDOT while voting to eliminate a tax break for senior renters, and in turn using money from that to shore up funding for children with developmental disabilities.

The 2013 legislative session ends Friday, May 17th.

Marshall Griffin is the Statehouse reporter for St. Louis Public Radio.
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