Missouri Lawmakers Getting Cold Feet on Business Tax Subsidies


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In the past year, Missouri lawmakers have grown increasingly skeptical about the effectiveness of business tax breaks in encouraging economic development. But the bad news is that during an ongoing special legislative session, some lawmakers have been eager to enact massive new tax breaks for a proposed cargo hub, optimistically dubbed “Aerotropolis,” to be located at the St. Louis airport, which is meant to lure overseas cargo shippers to Missouri.

With no apparent irony, some lawmakers want to use the revenues from repealing existing ineffective tax subsidies to pay for the proposed new “Aerotropolis” package. Fortunately, the same lawmakers who have voiced their opposition to existing subsidies are building a critical mass of skepticism about the new proposal. As Senator Jason Crowell put it, "We've come to a pretty firm conclusion, I believe, that the Missouri Senate will partner with you to create jobs. It will not partner with you to subsidize activity that may or may not create jobs."

It’s looking like some scaled down version of the original package is what will pass this month’s special session.

One other promising development: so far, the circuit breaker that protects low income and senior renters has survived, and efforts to repurpose that modest program’s costs for more business tax breaks have so far failed.

Photo via AFL CIO Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0

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