Is Jeff Grisamore really the champion of those that are affected by autism or does he use them as stepping stones in his political career? What is he doing to stop restraint, seclusion, or abuse? What is he doing to make sure that they are receiving the education and services that they are entitled to?
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Texas Gov. Perry's visit is shaking up Missouri tax fight : News
ST. LOUIS • Missouri Republicans and business leaders are preparing to lay out the welcome mat this week for Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
And Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Tuesday came pretty close to calling them economic traitors for it.
“As an organization that purports to represent the interests of Missouri businesses, the Missouri Chamber (of Commerce) should support activities that seek to strengthen our economy — not undermine it,” Nixon wrote in a letter sent Tuesday to Chamber members, in advance of Perry’s speech at a Chamber-affiliated event in Chesterfield on Thursday.
“Engaging in a respectful debate about the appropriate tax policy for our state is one thing,” Nixon wrote, “but campaigning to take jobs from hardworking Missouri families is another.”
It is the latest salvo in a spreading battle over the visit by Perry, the former (and possibly future) Republican presidential candidate, whose economic advice to Missouri is laced with a dose of blunt opportunism.
“Unfortunately your governor vetoed a bill that would have lowered taxes and controlled wasteful spending,” Perry says in a radio ad that has played around Missouri in advance of his visit.
The ad goes on to invite any disgruntled Missouri employers to “learn why more businesses and families are moving to Texas.”
It’s part of an ongoing, aggressive campaign by the Texan to lobby employers to move to Texas from other states, including Illinois.
In Missouri, the underlying issue is legislation, passed this year by the Missouri Legislature and vetoed by Nixon, that seeks to reduce state tax collections by more than $700 million annually. It would lower the top personal income tax rate from 6 percent to 5.5 percent. And the corporate tax rate would fall by 3 points, to 3.25 percent.
Supporters claim it will spur economic growth by leaving more money in people’s hands. But Nixon vetoed the bill in June, calling it an “ill-conceived, fiscally irresponsible experiment” that would “undermine our state’s fiscal health.”
Supporters of the bill have been trying to rally lawmakers for an override of the veto next month. Leading the effort is a coalition group called Grow Missouri, which is made up of the state Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and other pro-business groups. The coalition is hosting Perry’s speech on Thursday.
The group has been largely funded by retired investment broker and political mega-donor Rex Sinquefield.
A Grow Missouri spokeswoman stressed that the Texas jobs campaign Perry is involved with is separate from the Missouri group and the Chesterfield event.
“His trip is completely separate from our effort. It just happens to be well-timed with our effort” to win a veto override, said the spokeswoman, Anne Marie Moy. “We don’t know exactly what he’s going to say ... but he will likely speak out in favor of the override of House Bill 253,” the Missouri tax-cut bill.
In the radio ad, Perry introduces himself, and tells Missouri listeners: “Vetoing a tax cut is the same thing as raising your taxes. But there is a state where businesses flourish and jobs are created — Texas.”
The ad continues: “Every year, more than $40 million are leaving Missouri for the Lone Star State because Missouri families and businesses know Texas is a great place to live and work.”
Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed this week defended the ad.
“The message is ... competition is a good thing,” she said. “It’s what makes states work harder to create a better business climate. This is the same message that the governor has taken across the country.”
But St. Louis radio station KTRS pulled the ad this week after management determined it was “focused on stealing locally owned companies away from St. Louis,” according to a statement.
Moy, the Grow Missouri spokeswoman, disagrees. “When we look at those ads, we wish our governor was in a position to be doing to the same thing ... so we’re not bleeding jobs to other states,” she said.
Nixon’s letter of protest follows an earlier one from Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, a Democrat, in which he accused the Texas governor of “launching a wholesale public relations effort meant to depress Missouri’s business climate in hopes of luring jobs to Texas.”
Nixon’s office has pointed out that, although Texas has no income tax, it actually has higher rates on other types of taxes than Missouri does. “While he is here, Gov. Perry may want to go shopping, as Missouri’s sales tax rate is a full 2 percentage points lower than Texas’,” Nixon’s office said last week.
Republicans have generally defended Perry’s visit as a chance to highlight his economic policies. “Gov. Perry understands how to grow economy: low/fair taxation, worker freedom, fair courts & regulations,” Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones, R-Eureka, posted on Twitter last week.
A spokesman for Missouri Republican Party State Chairman Ed Martin also defended Perry.
“I think he has every right to tout the successes of policy in Texas to anyone who will listen,” spokesman Matt Wills said in a statement. “I don’t believe any facts Gov. Perry raises in his ads are wrong.”
Perry’s event is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the DoubleTree Hotel, 16625 Swingley Ridge Road in Chesterfield. Free tickets can be reserved at the Grow Missouri website, www.growmissouri.com.