Dem. gov. wins on big vetoes in GOP Legislature

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — As the leader of a pro-gun, anti-tax state, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has prevailed against the odds.

The Democratic governor successfully defended his vetoes of a sweeping income tax cut and an aggressive gun-rights bill in a Republican-dominated Legislature. Lawmakers did override a record number of his vetoes during a Wednesday session that ran until midnight — just not on the biggest issues at the core of Republican Party philosophies.

The Missouri veto session delivered a sobering reminder to legislators that single-party dominance is no guarantee of results, not even in the roughly two dozen states where one party commands enough seats to theoretically override vetoes without any aid from the opposing party.

In Missouri, “the Republican party’s divisions weighed down on it, and the office of the governor remains a very potent block to the committed agenda of even a supermajority in the state Legislature,” Dave Robertson, a political science professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said Thursday.

All but four states now have single-party control of their legislatures, the highest amount in three decades, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. But Missouri and Arkansas are the only states where a one party holds a technically veto-proof majority and another party control’s the governor’s office.

Missouri’s GOP legislative leaders had thought they would be able use their first supermajorities since the Civil War era to reshape Missouri’s economy. Their marque legislation would have enacted Missouri’s first income tax rate reduction in more than 90 years. But 15 of the 109 House Republicans broke from party to help sustain Nixon’s veto.

On Thursday, House Speaker Tim Jones attempted to put a positive construction on the veto session while simultaneously expressing his disappointment.

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