"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Only One Of Many”: Missouri Keeps Tumbling Rightward

The Missouri legislature had no trouble passing a big tax cut today over the veto of Gov. Jay Nixon. As a Missouri native, I’m probably more irritated by this than most Times readers are, but my state is only one of many that have been sharply pulled to the right in the last few years. What’s happening in Jefferson City is already familiar to residents of Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas, North Carolina, and many others.

The main difference is that Mr. Nixon is a Democrat, a relic of the days when his party dominated the state. But Republican leaders are working on that. Last month, they had a serious debate in the House on whether the governor should be impeached for allowing same-sex married couples to file joint tax returns. Gay and lesbian people can’t get married to each other in Missouri, which has a constitutional amendment prohibiting it, but Mr. Nixon had the temerity to allow the joint returns for couples married elsewhere.

“This is such a blatant and serious violation of Missouri’s constitution and Missouri law that the governor should be removed from office,” said Nick Marshall, a state representative from Parkville.

In case that didn’t work, there was another impeachment resolution filed that would have ousted Mr. Nixon for failing to properly discipline state workers who released a list of concealed gun permits to the federal government. The resolution began, “Whereas, the people of the State of Missouri cherish their right to bear arms…” and went downhill from there.

A few weeks ago, the legislature approved a measure that would nullify all federal gun laws and allow residents to sue federal agents for enforcing them. It carries no legal weight, and Mr. Nixon vetoed something similar last year, but the true believers apparently feel the need to re-establish their credentials repeatedly.

Although the impeachment efforts were dropped today, Republicans have managed to push through their agenda. As a Kansas City Star editorial noted, today’s tax cut doesn’t even benefit the people who could use the money the most. A family making $44,000 a year will get a $32 break, while one making $1 million will get $7,800. Most of the benefits, in fact, go to one special-interest group.

“It is a gift to businesses whose owners declare their business incomes on their personal tax forms,” the Star wrote. “Up to one-fourth of their income could eventually be tax-free if the bill becomes law, whether or not they create jobs.”

Naturally, Missouri isn’t coming close to fully funding its public school and university system, and is one of 20 states that refuses to expand Medicaid, turning down $2.2 billion from the federal government because that would mean accepting the reality of the Affordable Care Act. But when businesses raise their voices for a tax cut, they are answered.

It’s not the state I grew up in, which is exactly the way a new generation of leaders like it.


By: David Firestone, Editors Blog, The New York Times, May 6, 2014

May 9, 2014 - Posted by | GOP, Missouri Legislature, Right Wing | , , , , , ,

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