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Fowler vows to let HB 253 veto stand

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

TIM BOMMEL - House of Representatives photographer Rep. Dennis Fowler (R-Dist. 151), at center in the foreground, is pictured during the last legislative session in Jefferson City listening to a discussion on the House Floor.
Rep. Dennis Fowler (R-Dist. 151) met with the Stoddard County Republican Club Monday night to outline his positions on various bills in the past session and field questions. Tuesday morning he was on his way to Jefferson City to take care of some business and cast an online vote to not overide Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of HB 253. The bill would lower income taxes over a five-year period if revenue growth meets certain levels.

Fowler has not changed his position on HB 253.

"I'm not changing my vote," said Fowler Tuesday. "I voted against the bill in regular session, and I intend to maintain my credibility."

There are some bills that Fowler will vote to override in the veto session scheduled for Sept. 11 in Jefferson City. He supports an override of Nixon's veto of a bill that attempts to nullify certain federal gun-control laws in Missouri. The bill provides for state misdemeanor charges to be filed against federal agents who attempt to enforce those laws.

"That will happen," Fowler said of the veto override. "I supported it and believe strongly in the second amendment."

Fowler does believe it will be overturned in court, but says the intention of legislators is to "send a message on how we feel about it." He said the people thave contacted him from the district want a statement made about their right to bear arms.

Fowler said he would also support an override of a bill allowing juveniles to seek removal from Missouri's sex offender registry.

Under the measure, people who were younger than 18 when they committed a sex offense would not appear on public notification websites operated by law enforcement officials. Those already named on such sites would be removed. In addition, people who committed the crime as a juvenile could petition the courts for removal from the state registry five years after the conviction or their release from custody. Judges would grant the request unless the person faces charges for failing to properly register or for another sex offense, has not completed probation or parole or has not lived in Missouri for at least five years if the initial offense was committed elsewhere. Petitions for removal would be filed in the circuit court in the county in which the person was found guilty.

Fowler said juveniles would "obviously still have a record," but they would not be put on the permanent sex offender registry if they met the conditions provided for in the act.

By far the most controversial issue is an attempted override of the Nixon's veto of HB 253. Nixon has been traveling the state in an effort to gain support against a legislative override.

Fowler said the greatest influence on him in deciding his stance on the bill has come from educators and students in the 151st District. He feels that the bill could threaten the future of public education by reducing funding. He also objects to parts of the bill that would levy a sales tax on prescription drugs.

HB 253 would phase-in a 50 percent deduction over five years for business income reported on individual income tax returns. It also would cut Missouri's corporate income tax rate nearly in half over a five year period. It would lower the top tax rate for individuals from 6 percent to 5.5 percent over the next decade.

The corporate and individual tax rate reductions would take effect only if annual state revenues continue to grow by at least $100 million over their highest point in the preceding three years.

Legislative researchers have estimated that the measure would reduce Missouri's potential revenues by about $700 million annually when fully implemented.

Fowler was somewhat surprised that he was not forced to defend his position on the income tax bill at the meeting of county Republicans Monday night. He said there were many public school administrators there, and they supported his position against HB 253.

"I think the whole thing has been a legislative sound bite," said Fowler. "Certain legislators are trying to get it passed so they can say they tried to lower income taxes when they run for higher office."

Fowler said there are other Republicans questioning whether the bill is good for the state. He said they would rather let the veto stand, and then try to rewrite the bill to fix unintended consequences such as the tax on prescription drugs. He doesn't agree with the idea that the legislature will come back and "fix" the problems after the bill has passed.

"They want us to pass it and then fix it," said Fowler. "That sounds like Nancy Pelosi to me."

Fowler is also leery of the influence of retired investment firm executive Rex Sinquefield. Sinquefield has poured about $2.4 million into an advertising campaign coordinated with business groups who want lawmakers to override the veto.

"He (Sinquefield) is trying to use money to get his way," said Fowler, though he adds that he has not been approached by any of the groups supporting the override.

Fowler said he will not change his mind on HB 253, and so far the people in District 151 have been supportive of his stance. He feels that the bill would be detrimental to the funding of public education.

"I am not a career politician," stated Fowler. "I dont think this bill represents a true tax cut for all Missourians."

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Rep Fowler, you have gained a lot of respect by your solid and sane positions.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Wed, Aug 21, 2013, at 1:18 PM

He's for Stoddard Countians instead of party loyalty. Very good decision. There's just too many problems with that bill. There are better ways to lower our taxes without cutting needed funds.

-- Posted by swift on Wed, Aug 21, 2013, at 3:31 PM

I am very impressed with Representative Fowler thus far and like his independent attitude; and I think he is right in opposing HB 253. Thank you, Representative Fowler!

-- Posted by Andrea64 on Wed, Aug 21, 2013, at 11:06 PM

Now Rick Perry Texas Gov is interfering. Of course Rick is not the most popular person in town.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Fri, Aug 23, 2013, at 9:49 AM

Dexterite, I doubt Gov Perry will be able to change Fowler's opposition to the bill. I hard that Perry is supposed to be in Cape soon. I doubt it will have any effect.

You are right about Perry's lack of popularity here. I'm certainly no fan of his and never was.

I didn't attend the GOP Club meeting. I did attend one in January and the one in July. Dexterite, I'm about fed up with partisan politics and party labels.

-- Posted by swift on Fri, Aug 23, 2013, at 3:17 PM

swift, I can say "amen" to that. We have gone so far off track it will take generations to correct the course. Where did the days of a handshake and courtesy go? I miss them.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Fri, Aug 23, 2013, at 3:31 PM

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