Missouri lawmakers have returned to Jefferson City this month with a jam-packed agenda in tow. One issue that has the potential to dominate all the others in 2014 is the issue that dominated 2013 – tax relief.
That fact came into sharp focus over the last month. Just weeks before Christmas, the Missouri Legislature decided to play Santa to Boeing with nearly $2 billion in tax incentives – that is, your money – to attract about 8,000 jobs. The state’s plan didn’t work; Boeing decided to manufacture its 777X in Washington as planned, rather than bring those jobs here to Missouri. Throughout this process, the Show-Me Institute heavily criticized the push to deliver special tax benefits to a single, powerful company.
But the legislature’s quixotic quest for the Boeing project has produced something remarkable: it has put practically every legislator in the state, including many who opposed last year’s tax cut, on the record as supporting a tax cut as a way to boost growth.
If the Missouri House can vote 127 to 20 for a handout for one company, shouldn’t those 127 legislators support tax relief for the rest of Missouri’s entrepreneurs? If not, what makes Boeing more deserving of tax relief than the family businesses in our communities? Expect those questions to be answered in the coming months.
Patrick Ishmael, policy analyst Show-Me Institute