(St. Louis) (AP) – Gov. Jay Nixon touted a $3 million expansion of an auto parts manufacturer Thursday as an indication that Missouri is a good place to do business, despite claims to the contrary from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
The timing of Nixon’s job announcement was no coincidence, as Perry made a personal marketing pitch to business leaders in St. Louis to consider relocating or expanding in his home state.
The Republican Texas governor, who is weighing a 2016 presidential bid, also waded into an intense political battle in Missouri by encouraging the state’s Republican-led Legislature to override a veto of an income tax cut bill by Missouri’s Democratic governor.
During an interview Thursday on KMOX radio, Perry described Missouri’s tax policy as “onerous,” its regulatory climate as “not particularly helpful to businesses” and its legal system as allowing “too many frivolous lawsuits.” He then added that “Missouri is a great state” with “wonderful hardworking people.”
The radio station has been running ads paid for by TexasOne, a public-private marketing partnership, in which Perry criticizes Nixon’s tax-cut veto, touts Texas’ business environment and concludes: “Come check out Texas.”
Nixon appeared on the radio show Thursday immediately after Perry. While acknowledging that Missouri offers incentives to businesses that relocate from other states, Nixon did not take too kindly to Perry’s aggressive manner of marketing Texas nor his interjection in Missouri’s tax-cut debate.
“As for me taking my time to run to other states, and run ads, and then being involved in an override of a bill I haven’t read and don’t understand … the action he’s taken here just crosses the line,” Nixon said.
As evidence that Missouri remains attractive to businesses, Nixon attended a groundbreaking Thursday for a road improvement that he said would facilitate a $3 million expansion at Toyota Bodine’s auto parts manufacturing plant in Troy, about 50 miles northwest of St. Louis. Nixon said the expansion could add 35 jobs. The state Department of Economic Development said it is providing a $350,000 grant for the project.
“With balanced budgets, skilled workers and well-developed infrastructure, Missouri is a great place to do business,” Bob Lloyd, president of Bodine Aluminum, said in a written statement released by Nixon’s office.
Nixon also defended his veto of the income tax cut.
The legislation would gradually reduce 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 phase in a 50 percent tax deduction for business income reported on individual tax returns.
But Nixon said the bill is “riddled with both errors and mistaken policy.” Among other things, he noted that it would impose sales taxes on prescription drugs and textbooks and could lead to funding cuts for education.
Missouri lawmakers are to convene Sept. 11 to decide whether to override Nixon’s veto.