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Texas governor launches ad blasting Nixon's veto of tax-cut bill

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 22, 2013 - In preparation for his trip here next week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, has launched an unusual TV and radio ad campaign in Missouri that he says is “highlighting Texas' commitment to keeping taxes low on families and job creators.”

Texas doesn't have an income tax, but does have a higher sales tax than Missouri.

The radio spot also attacks Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, for his veto of HB253, the bill that cuts income taxes on businesses and individuals while also imposing the state’s sales tax on prescription drugs and textbooks.

Perry’s visit to the St. Louis area next week includes a public event hosted by pro-business groups seeking to persuade members of the Missouri General Assembly to override Nixon’s veto of HB253 when the veto session begins Sept. 11.

Although organizers have said that Perry won’t take a stand on the tax-cut bill, his radio ad signals that the Texas governor has apparently reconsidered.

A Perry spokeswoman reaffirmed his views in an email to the Beacon: "Gov. Perry always supports cutting taxes and keeping the tax burden low on hardworking families and employers, and he supports the veto override."

In a statement posted on Perry’s official website, his office states that more than $200,000 is being spent on the radio and TV spots. “The radio ad will run on multiple stations in St. Louis, Springfield, Columbia, Joplin and Kansas City,” Perry’s release states.

“The seven-day, $100,000 radio ad buy, along with the nine-day, $106,400 TV ad buy and the governor's trip are paid for by TexasOne -- no state tax dollars will be used for his travel and accommodations or for the ad buys.”

Nixon, Kander counter by citing Texas flaws

(UPDATE) Nixon, in a statement, countered with his own jab at Texas. "It's unfortunate that Gov. Perry feels the need to make misleading attacks on another state -- especially for the sake of promoting a bill that would raise sales taxes on prescription drugs by $200 million a year," Nixon said.

"While he is here, Gov. Perry may want to go shopping, as Missouri's sales tax rate is a full two percentage points lower than Texas'. We also have a more competitive corporate tax structure, lower property taxes and higher student test scores. Indeed, Gov. Perry's ad is right about one thing: House Bill 253 would make Missouri more like Texas, with higher sales taxes, higher property taxes and underperforming schools." (END UPDATE)

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander – who backs Nixon’s veto – has sent Perry a letterin which Kander, a Democrat, accuses Perry of conducting “a wholesale public relations effort meant to depress Missouri's business climate in hopes of luring jobs to Texas.”

Kander suggests that Perry “reconsider” his approach to attracting jobs – and perhaps forego his Missouri trip.

"Simply poaching jobs from one state and bringing them to another doesn’t grow our nation’s economy, so I hope you reconsider your efforts and instead look at ways to cultivate new industries and companies in Texas, rather than just trying to steal other states’ successes,” Kander wrote.

Kander: Talk about Medicaid instead

Kander then suggested that Perry consider injecting himself into a different Missouri debate.

“But if you choose to come to Missouri next week anyway, there is a way you can make the trip worthwhile. I read in POLITICO that you are seeking $100 million in Medicaid funding for the disabled and elderly,” Kander wrote.

“Our state legislature in Missouri has refused to accept additional Medicaid funding from the federal government, so it would be great if you could explain to them why they should follow your lead on this issue.”

Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.