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Republicans Step Up Attack On Income Tax Veto

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

Republicans are stepping up their attacks against Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of a bill that he says would cut revenue to the state by more than $700 million. The Democratic Governor has been touring the state with that message, hoping to sway lawmakers to sustain his veto.

After several initial supporters of the bill dropped their backing, Republicans are beginning to push back more forcefully, with GOP members showing up to Nixon’s press conferences.

Republican Senator Eric Schmitt was one of the architects of the bill, and attended Nixon's press conference in Kirkwood this week.

"I understand what the Governor's mission here is," Schmitt told reporters after Nixon spoke. "It's meant to rouse people's passions and spread misinformation."

On St. Louis Public Radio’s and the St. Louis Beacon’s Politically Speaking this week, House Majority Leader John Diehl said sending members to the event is a concerted effort.

"Oh absolutely," Diehl said. "We're doing this as a caucus. When he (Nixon) puts out misinformation on these topics, there are talking points to explain why that's not correct."

Conservatives are also calling on Democratic Attorney General Chris Koster to put forth his legal opinion on the bill. Koster's spokesperson told PolitcoMo at the beginning of the month that "The Attorney General's office has no direct role in tax policy."

By all accounts, a vote to override will be close. If the veto is going to be overridden on a party line, not a single Republican can stray from the party vote.

“First of all, I think the math is going well," Diehl said. "What I would tell and caution anybody is that anyone who makes predictions on what will happen on a veto override a month out probably doesn’t have a good idea of what’s going on. Anything can and does happen.”

This week, yet another House GOP member voiced his concern with the income tax cut bill, with Rep. Mike Thomson calling the bill an "experiment." He joins fellow Republican Nate Walker who told a Kirksville newspaper that he would oppose the override.

“I think you have to look very, very closely at the statements people are making," Diehl said. "Just because people say they have a concern with it, does not mean that they will not vote for an override.”

Backers are also bringing in Texas Gov. Rick Perry to St. Louis at the end of the month in an effort to incite support for the bill.

Republicans will caucus at the end of the week to decide which vetoes they will attempt to override.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel