Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tax Issue Provokes One Last Shootout Hancock, Opponent Debate Amendment

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tax Issue Provokes One Last Shootout Hancock, Opponent Debate Amendment

Article excerpt

In the last major public debate over the expanded tax limitation on Missouri's ballot next Tuesday, the political math went like this:

U.S. Rep. Mel Hancock, R-Springfield, author of the amendment that is his namesake, said the value of citizen power over taxation is greater than inconvenience to bureaucrats.

James R. Moody, a former state budget director and the opposition's most prominent numbers person, said the value of Hancock's personal irritation is less than calamitous cuts in services.

Hancock and Moody debated Wednesday night in Leach Theatre, the main auditorium of the University of Missouri at Rolla. About 500 students and adults attended.

Amendment 7, known as Hancock II, is an expansion and tightening of the tax-revenue limit that Missourians adopted in 1980. Hancock also was father of that amendment.

Hancock said opponents were trying to scare citizens with "Chicken Little" nightmares. It won't happen, he said.

"I don't want to talk about minutia," he said. "We're talking about the very basic right to control government through our votes. You'll pay taxes all your lives. Don't you want the right to vote on them?"

Moody said Hancock sponsored Hancock II because he is angry that voters had approved several tax increases since 1980 that aren't covered by the original amendment. Moody said Hancock II would require at least $1 billion in cuts from the state's $12.3 billion budget.

"This is all about some things that bother the congressman," Moody said. "Let's not kid ourselves. If this passes, there are going to be a lot of disgruntled citizens angry about service cuts. And the cuts are going to be deep and Draconian."

Moody served five years as a budget chief for John Ashcroft, former governor and the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Now a lobbyist, he wrote an analysis for the Committee to Protect Missouri's Future, the main opposition group. …

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