The last week of the session began with some good news when Governor Jay Nixon vetoed SB 350, a bill passed by the general assembly that would have repealed an existing tax credit that assists the low-income elderly and disabled. The MCC opposed SB 350 and urged the governor to veto it.
The tax credit saved by the governor is available to renters who are elderly (65 and older) or disabled and who have household incomes of $27,500 or less if single, or $29,500 or less if married. Over 104,000 Missourians from all corners of the state receive this assistance, which averages $534 annually.
The MCC joined many others in saving this tax credit. Lou Defeo, a former executive director of the MCC who now provides legal and tax services to the poor at the Jefferson City Samaritan Center, met with legislators and staff of the governor to provide first-hand accounts of how the credit assists veterans and many others in Central Missouri.
Meanwhile, MCC Network members made contacts with legislators and later with the governor’s office. The sustained advocacy made a difference. When the session opened, even Governor Nixon had supported repeal of the low-income renters’ credit. But over time, the governor and others began to realize how important the credit was in providing assistance to the poor as well as injecting money into local economies.
The House vote passing SB 350 fell well short of the 109 votes needed to override the governor’s veto. It appears doubtful that an effort will be made in the September veto session to override the governor’s rejection of SB 350. Thanks to all MCC Network members who responded to our calls for action. You made a difference and helped the poor with your prompt responses.