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Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon
In Missouri, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon has been fighting a hard-right Republican legislature all year, and it's only gotten worse:
Missouri lawmakers convene a session Wednesday devoted to overriding vetoes, and the itinerary is lengthy. Nixon spiked 29 bills and used his line-item veto on four additional budget items this year. […]

In many cases, Nixon drew a sharp philosophical line. He warned that tax cuts could jeopardize education funding, the gun bill would violate the U.S. Constitution and the union requirements would burden public employees.

Nixon has held off a variety of crackpot bills—the obviously Constitution-violating bill ostensibly nullifying federal gun laws if they are deemed to violate duh Constitution is a fine example of legislative absurdity—but Missouri Republicans in theory have a veto-proof majority in both houses, and could thus override every one of those vetoes if their caucus voted as a block. That's been the intention of the Republican leadership, and no bill has been as important to them as a $400 million "pro-business" tax cut that Nixon vetoed.

After 90 minutes of debate, however, the Missouri House today failed to override Nixon's veto of the Republican tax plan by a 94-67 vote (a two-thirds majority was needed). It was in very large part the result of an aggressive summer campaign by Nixon to publicize what the results of the new tax policy would be. As a report from earlier in the week explained:

[O]ver the summer, Mr. Nixon has turned the debate away from the Republican argument that lower taxes bring jobs and recast the tax cut as one that would hurt education and mental health services. The state’s school boards have rallied to his side. More than 100 of them have passed resolutions supporting the veto. And with a veto session set to begin on Wednesday, it is the supporters of the tax cut who are now pessimistic.

“We’re a little at a loss ourselves regarding the fact that there are a couple of Republican legislators who have been dragging their feet,” said Anne Marie Moy, the spokeswoman for the Grow Missouri Coalition, which has been campaigning for the override.

It turns out people like the things taxes pay for—go figure—and pointing out all the things that would be hurt by cutting those taxes makes them considerably less palatable.

The NYT also makes note of the fight between Nixon and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who parachuted into Missouri to support the tax cuts as apparent part of his "screw every state" strategy. Why Rick Perry felt the need is beyond me, but he seems to be obsessed with going to other states to explain why they suck, which is an interesting political strategy.

So that's how you win against tax cuts. You explain to the people the very real things they'll be losing in exchange for a token promise of "growth" that never quite seems to pan out. Oh, and Missouri Republican claims of fiscal prudence would seem more credible if the same crowd were not passing pointlessly symbolic laws nullifying federal gun laws and the like, and if nothing else we should probably keep Missouri schools well enough funded to teach their students why nullification-based laws do not tend to hold up well. Then those students could write letters to Missouri legislators explaining it to them, since apparently somebody has to.

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