Texas Gov. Rick Perry waded into Missouri's political battle over taxes Thursday, endorsing an uphill effort by Republican legislators to override Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of an income tax cut.
Perry's backing of the proposed tax cut came on the same day that a Texas marketing group began running a radio ad in Missouri criticizing Nixon's veto and encouraging Missouri businesses to consider moving to Texas.
The Texas Republican plans to make a personal appearance Aug. 29 in Missouri to tout Texas' business-friendly environment during events sponsored by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry and a coalition of groups backing the veto override attempt.
Perry said he also plans to meet with specific Missouri businesses as part of a Texas recruitment effort, though he declined to identify them.
"The veto was a very clear message to the people of Missouri that this administration - the Nixon administration - believes in higher taxes," Perry said in a telephone interview Thursday with The Associated Press.
He added: "I think it's good for the country to be having a discussion about states competing against each other."
Texas has no personal income tax. But its local property taxes and state sales tax are higher than Missouri's.
Nixon spokesman Scott Holste said Perry was making "misleading attacks" on Missouri and quipped that he may want to go shopping during his visit to take advantage of lower sales taxes. Holste also noted that Missouri students scored better than those in Texas on recent standardized tests.
Democratic Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, whose office handles business registrations, sent a public letter to Perry urging him to stay away from Missouri.
"Simply poaching jobs from one state and bringing them to another doesn't grow our nation's economy," Kander said.
Missouri lawmakers are to convene Sept. 11 to consider overriding Nixon's veto of the tax cut legislation and 28 other bills he spiked.
The legislation would gradually cut Missouri's corporate income tax rate nearly in half and lower the top tax rate for individuals from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over the next decade, so long as state revenues continue to rise by at least $100 million annually. It also would enact a new tax deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns. Other provisions would trigger an additional reduction in state income tax rates if Congress passes a measure making it easier for states to tax online sales.
Nixon has warned that the income tax cuts could cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars, leading to less funding for education, mental health care and other services. He also has highlighted an apparent drafting error in the bill that would result in state sales taxes being charged on prescription drugs.
A veto override requires a two-thirds majority in both the Missouri House and Senate. Republicans control both chambers but need "yes" votes from all 109 GOP House members and 23 of the 24 GOP senators to accomplish an override without any Democratic help. Several Republican House members have said they are likely to vote "no" on the tax-cut measure.
Perry said Missouri lawmakers should override the veto because the tax cut "will make Missouri more attractive to businessmen and women."
TexasOne, a public-private marketing partnership, said it's spending $206,000 for Missouri TV and radio ads promoting Texas. The radio ad asserts that more than $40 million leaves Missouri annually for Texas. St. Louis lobbyist Travis Brown, who supports income tax cuts, has developed a database from federal tax records that tracks people's movements among states based on their adjusted gross incomes. That database shows Missouri lost $791 million of personal income to Texas from 1992 to 2010.
Perry, who is considering another run for president in 2016, has made similar Texas recruitment visits this year to California, Connecticut, Illinois and New York. He said the Missouri trip was unrelated to any presidential ambitions and compared it to the common practice of college football coaches recruiting players from other states. More than one-quarter of the players on the University of Missouri's football team are from Texas, including Perry's godson Robert Luce.