Gov. Jay Nixon today vetoed Senate Bill 350 and urged the General Assembly to act quickly to fund Missouri's First Steps program in a responsible way. In his veto message, Gov. Nixon noted that instead of addressing the important issue of tax credit reform in a comprehensive manner, Senate Bill 350 eliminates only part of a single program - the renters' portion of the Property Tax Credit - that assists low-income seniors and individuals with disabilities.
"Effective tax credit reform must be broad-based and designed to ensure that all tax credit programs provide a strong return for taxpayers, our communities and our economy," Gov. Nixon said in his veto message. "Such an approach is fiscally prudent and would build upon the State of Missouri's strong financial foundation. Senate Bill No. 350 does not constitute comprehensive tax credit reform."
The Governor's budget for Fiscal Year 2014 recommended re-investing funds generated by the elimination of the renters' portion of the Property Tax Credit into services for low-income seniors. Instead, the budget passed by the General Assembly directs savings that would be realized from the program's repeal to programs unrelated to seniors.
Gov. Nixon's veto of Senate Bill 350 also clears the way for the legislature to move forward with a responsible method of funding First Steps, Missouri's early intervention program for infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities or delays. Legislation is moving forward in the General Assembly that would responsibly fund First Steps at the Governor's recommended level.
"Here in Missouri, we balance budgets, we hold the line on taxes and we protect our most vulnerable citizens," Gov. Nixon said. "I urge the General Assembly to act quickly to get a bill to my desk that responsibly funds the First Steps program, and ensures infants and children with developmental disabilities and their families continue to receive the support and services they need."
For more than two decades, First Steps has provided vital services to help infants and children with special needs reach their full potential and reduce the need for more costly interventions later in life. In Fiscal Year 2012, First Steps served more than 10,000 children in every corner of Missouri.