Governor Vetoes Help for Hungry, Women in Crisis Pregnancies

Governor Nixon, where are your priorities? One would think that in a multi-billion dollar state budget the governor could find $1.5 million to feed the hungry and assist women in crisis pregnancies. But this week the governor vetoed legislation to assist food pantries, pregnancy resource centers, and maternity homes.

HB 1132 was sponsored by State Representative Kevin Engler (R-Farmington), while Senator Gary Romine (R- Farmington) handled the legislation in the Missouri Senate. It passed both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly by wide margins: 121 to 25 in the House and 30 to 1 in the Senate.

The governor’s veto message is as unpersuasive, as it is brief. The governor wants reform of Missouri’s 60 plus tax credit programs. He complains that they cost too much and reduce funding for other state services. We agree, but he is looking for savings from the wrong tax credits.

Real reform would preserve the tax credits that work and revise or eliminate those that don’t. Distinctions need to be made. The historic preservation credit, for example, has a cap of $140 million annually. It is the largest tax credit of its kind in the nation. A slice of this credit benefits investors and brokers instead of being used to rehabilitate historic buildings, according to a recent state audit.

In contrast, even with passage of HB 1132, no more than $6.75 million a year may be claimed in total for the three credits the governor is concerned about. The bill proposes modest increases of only $500,000 for each of the tax credits. These credits are used to provide assistance to some of our most vulnerable citizens, the poor and hungry, and women in crisis pregnancies.

The governor’s math is correct so far as it goes, but some context is in order. Yes, these tax credit expansions will cost $1.5 million, but the governor proposed a state budget that included over $9 billion in state general revenue.

 

Posted: July 11, 2014

 

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