(The Center Square) – Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson signaled a veto of a bill giving some Missourians a tax credit of $500 to $1,000 for 2021 when he signed a $47.5 billion state budget into law.
Among Thursday’s 32 line-item vetoes totaling $644 million was the elimination of a $500 million transfer to the Tax Credit Offset Fund.
In his letter explaining the veto of the item in House Bill 3020, a $2.8 billion appropriation in federal COVID-19 funds and $500 million in general revenue, Parson said the bill directs funds to be transferred from general revenue to the Tax Credit Offset Fund, but it failed to authorize the expenditure of any funds from it.
The fund was created in a Senate amendment to House Bill 2090, which originally was created to pay state employees biweekly. The bill passed 104-30 on May 6.
Parson expressed his dissatisfaction with the tax credit during the past few weeks and suggested an across-the-board tax cut for Missourians would be more beneficial.
“This past session was often obstructed by petty infighting and personal political interests, but common sense prevailed,” Parson said in a statement announcing the signing of the budget bills. “We applaud members of the General Assembly for capitalizing on this opportunity and prioritizing the continued success of our state.”
Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, spoke against the tax credit bill during the legislative session and was pleased with the Parson’s action.
“I was relieved and thought that was a pretty irresponsible use of the money,” Merideth said in an interview with The Center Square. “If they want to give it back to people, they can do it in a much better way than that. He’s saying the same thing.”
Parson also vetoed $10 million for maintenance for charter schools in the ARPA bill.
“This funding is limited to charter schools, unfairly limiting access to public K-12 schools,” Parsons wrote in his veto letter. “Deferred maintenance is the responsibility of the charter sponsor, not the state. My administration has previously vetoed this line for the same reasons specified in this message and our position has not changed, contrary to statements made in the House Budget Committee and on the House floor.”
Meredith concurred and mentioned Parson’s position during the floor debate.
“He said exactly what we said on the floor: We hope the governor vetoes this for the exact same reasons he did before,” Meredith said. “That’s the responsibility of charter schools, not the state.”
Merideth said Democrats were pleased with the status of the budget and looked forward to a more bipartisan approach to governing.
“I honestly think there are a lot Republicans realizing that the Democrats aren’t the crazy ones in the room,” Merideth said. “They’re having a problem with crazy in their own party. This budget was an example where we had a bipartisan governing majority that passed fairly reasonable stuff. That is a nice change of pace.”
Congress approved $1.9 trillion in ARPA funds in March 2021 to provide funding for states and local governments to mitigate the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. ARPA grants must be allocated by Dec. 31, 2024, and spent by Dec. 31, 2026.