Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Carnahan Defends Tax, despite Judge's Statement

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Carnahan Defends Tax, despite Judge's Statement

Article excerpt

Gov. Mel Carnahan said Tuesday that his decision to push ahead with a $310 million tax increase in 1993 was justified despite a statement by a circuit judge that disputes the governor's reason for the increase.

Carnahan was asked about the statement by Circuit Judge Byron Kinder during the third and final gubernatorial debate with state Auditor Margaret Kelly, his Republican opponent, and Libertarian candidate J. Mark Oglesby.

The debate was aired on public television station KETC (Channel 9) and w as available for broadcast throughout Missouri. Kinder is the Cole County circuit judge who rendered a decision shortly after Carnahan was elected in 1992 that held that Missouri's state aid to public schools was inequitable. In the 1993 session of the Legislature, Carnahan cited Kinder's decision as the reason the Legislature should pass a tax increase. Although Carnahan had promised that his proposed education tax increase would be submitted to a statewide vote, he said Kinder's decision left no time for a vote because Missouri was threatened with judicial takeover of the school system. In an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press, Kinder, a Democrat, said that he had never ordered a tax increase to cure discriminatory school funding and that taking over the schools "would be way beyond the purview of the authority I have as a judge." Kelly has been attacking Carnahan for breaking his promise for a statewide vote on the tax increase. Tuesday night, she said he "lied about having to sign that bill because of a judge's court order." But Carnahan said: "There were all kinds of words in that opinion about urgency, about we needed to get with it, to do it (raise money for schools). It said children would be harmed. We felt there was no hope on appeal." In an interview after the debate, Carnahan said that in 1993, "there was no way we could have known" what Kinder would say now. …

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