Gov. Nixon defends education policy at town hall

Gov. Jay Nixon talks to PTA members at Pioneer Trail Elementary School Wednesday evening. Nixon attacked GOP handling of education issues.

Gov. Jay Nixon defended his K-12 priorities and attacked Republicans' handling of education issues at a town hall Wednesday evening.

Nixon's remarks came at a Missouri PTA event held at Pioneer Trail Elementary School. The event was scheduled to include a panel discussion by local lawmakers on education issues, but the discussion was scuttled after none of the lawmakers showed up. Nixon told an audience of about two dozen people he thought the debate over the national Common Core classroom standards had become too politicized. A statesenate committee heard two proposals earlier in the day to block the standards, which create national guidelines for K-12 education. Missouri's version is scheduled to be implemented in the next school year.

Nixon also criticized a $620 billion tax cut Senate Republicans passed earlier this week, saying it would cancel out his proposal to fully fund the state's Foundation Formula within two years. The formula, which funds K-12 education in this state, has been underfunded for several years. Senate president Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, told reporters on Monday he found Nixon's position disingenuous since the governor had pushed for a billion-dollar tax incentive for Boeing in December.

"There's a whole lot of difference between recruiting a significant manufacturer, an $8 billion investment to your state and cutting taxes by $620 million," Nixon said on Wednesday.

Nixon repeated his position that any proposal to cut taxes needs to include tax credit reform, particularly to the state's historic preservation and low-income housing tax credits, both of which were targeted by state audits in March. Dempsey has said Senate Republicans agree with the governor on tax credits and he blames the House for inaction on that issue.