Mo. House speaker wants AG's opinion on governor's tax cut bill claims

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Aug 15, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) -- Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones has asked Attorney General Chris Koster for his legal opinion on claims made by Gov. Jay Nixon that a tax cut bill would allow residents to retroactively benefit from a tax reduction.

Jones, a Republican, released a memorandum Wednesday from the General Assembly's Legislative Research Department that refutes claims made by Nixon, a Democrat.

The same day, Jones submitted a letter to Koster -- a likely gubernatorial candidate in 2016 -- formally requesting the attorney general's legal opinion on the provision in House Bill 253 dealing with the federal Marketplace Fairness Act and what Nixon claims would be a retroactive tax cut.

The MFA, currently pending in Congress, would enable state governments to collect sales taxes and use taxes from remote retailers with no physical presence in their state.

"The governor has taken great liberties with the truth during his campaign against the most significant tax cut Missourians have seen in nearly a century," Jones said in a statement Wednesday. "His claims of a retroactive tax cut that would generate a significant revenue shortfall are sensationalized talking points and not in any way based on statutory reality or legal precedent.

"I am confident that Attorney General Koster will come to the same conclusion as our legislative research division that there is no language in HB 253, nor in existing statute, that would in any way authorize the income tax reduction to be applied retroactively."

Nixon, a former state attorney general, vetoed HB 253 earlier this summer.

However, some members of the General Assembly, including Jones, have expressed their intent to override the veto at the annual veto session next month.

"Over the past five years, we've held the line on taxes and kept Missouri a low-tax state. I intend to keep it that way," the governor said Monday at Greentree Pharmacy in Kirkwood, Mo.

"House Bill 253 is a tax increase that folks, especially older Missourians, don't deserve and can't afford."

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at

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