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Nixon Explains Tax Cut Vetoes in Chillicothe

The governor says the rash of tax cut bills passed by the state legislature on the last day of the session threatened local government's abilities to fund needed services.
(CHILLICOTHE, Mo.) September is still more than two months away, but Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is getting ready for a fight with state legislators.

"It's the first time in 27 years I've seen the legislature blow up a budget after they've passed it."

Nixon was in Chillicothe Friday talking about legislative moves on the last day of the session where they passed numerous sales tax cuts. Nixon says it could cost as much as $776 million.

On a statewide tour, Nixon urged local officials to lobby their state legislators to uphold his vetoes.

"It's especially problematic in the more rural areas of the state because the small towns in the county provide the basis of services in those areas of fire and emergency and whatnot," Nixon said.

The governor got a lot of agreement from those who came to listen. Livingston County leaders say if the vetoes are overridden, the county could lose as much as $190,000 in sales tax revenue.

"Our main source of income is a 1/2 cent sales tax for our general revenue and a 1/4 cent sales tax for our law enforcement," said Livingston Co. Commissioner Ken Lauhoff. "That is the main source of income to run our whole county."

"Response time would slow down, equipment would not be there," said Chillicothe Police Chief Rick Knouse. "We live off of the sales tax."

Lauhoff said he believes local representatives did not know the ramifications of voting for the tax cuts. He hopes that when they meet again in September, they'll do what's best for Livingston County.

"They say they're going to override the governor's veto," said Lauhoff. If this happens, folks, Chillicothe and Livingston County will have a serious problem."

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