The Marceline R-5 Board of Education met in regular session Monday night at the District’s Central Office with all members present. The highlight of the meeting was the passing of a resolution against the possible veto overturn of House Bill 253 (H.B. 253).
While covered recently in the LCL (see the August 9 edition), the possible overturn of Governor Jay Nixon’s veto on H.B. 253, led by House Republicans and some wealthy backers, has continued to be a hot-button issue. The concerns voiced by education groups, and Gov. Nixon, is that changing the monies coming to the General Fund could mean a lack of money for education.
According to a press release from Missouri Association of Rural Educators (MARE): “House Bill 253 would undermine the funding of every school district in the state as well as the support of other state services that are critical to the citizens of Missouri.”
Their release continued: “A conservative estimate is this bill would cut taxes by $650 to $800 million per year, when fully phased in. Since the Missouri Constitution states that public school funding is the number two expenditure of state revenues after service to debt, it only stands to reason that Missouri schools would take a huge hit if HB 253 becomes law.”
For those unaware, H.B. 253 looks to change the tax structure in Missouri, lowering income taxes while raising corporate taxes. But the MARE release refutes the positive aspects touted by supporters such as the Missouri Chamber of Commerce: “Those that would gain a significant tax cut would include lawyers, lobbyists, and accountants. For the average Missouri family, there would be little relief – about the equivalent of a burger a month. Any cost savings would be quickly eaten up by increased costs from new sales and federal taxes.”
The campaign to see this veto overturned seems to be funded by retired St. Louis businessman Rex Sinquefield. According to numbers provided by MARE, Sinquefield has spent approximately $2.4 million in his efforts to see H.B. 253 made into law.
“Mr. Sinquefield is well known in the education community for his annual support of legislation that, if passed, would hurt public education,” said the release from MARE. “He seems very determined to re-structure the way business is done in Missouri. Millions have already been spent on initiatives to be placed on a statewide ballot – so far that have been un-successful.”
This led the Board of Eduction to pass a unanimous resolution in opposition of the overturning of Gov. Nixon’s veto of H.B. 253.
The resolution lists the following reasons for the R-5 District’s opposition:
1. HB 253 would reduce state revenue by more than $800 million and jeopardize the state’s ability to provide adequate funding to public schools for years to come. The state’s foundation formula is already underfunded by $600 million.
Page 2 of 2 - 2. The measure would jeopardize the state’s ability to fund other critical services and threatens the credit rating of Missouri.
3. Missouri already has one of the lowest state tax burdens in the nation.
4. The Marceline School District stands to lose upward of $351,000 if the General Assembly overrides Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto when it reconvenes September 14. Both the House and Senate would be required to vote.
5. Statewide, public schools would lose as much as $450 million this school year, plus $260 million annually if the override is successful.
6. The bill would reduce tax rates for individuals and corporations and create a new deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns.
7. Legislative projections estimated the bill would reduce state revenues by more than $700 million annually after it is fully implemented. Some of the tax cuts are contingent upon growth in state revenues.