You paid your income taxes earlier this week, but until tax freedom day, your still working for the government. According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation, this year's tax freedom day is April 21 nationally. Lowering or even eliminating income taxes would make it come even sooner and the Show-Me Institute has researched policies that would move Missouri in that direction:
Show-Me Institute Policy Researcher Michael Rathbone explains the causes of the Great Depression and the effects of government policies during that crisis in this presentation titled "Why was the Depression so Great?"
This presentation covers three main points: what caused the Great Depression; what caused it to go on for so long; and how did we finally get out of it.
Many believe that the cause was the stock market crash of 1929, which caused the Great Depression and a laissez-faire approach toward the crisis, ultimately making things worse. However, that is incorrect. In fact, while the crash started the crisis, it was a series of well-intentioned but poorly thought-out government actions that turned a sharp recession into a depression.
This presentation details how, in fact, President Roosevelt built upon the policies of President Hoover to combat the Depression. However, these policies did not get the country out of the Depression. In reality, it took a combination of events, including World War II, to actually end the Depression and restore strong economic growth. After watching this presentation, you will have a better understanding of that era in American history and the effects of public policy on the economy.
Gander Mountain just opened its first store in Missouri, in the St. Louis suburb of Fenton, with plans to open more locations in the Show-Me State. David Stokes is excited about this new store because the corporate policy is to not take tax subsidies as the company expands around the country:
Voters across Missouri will go to the polls on April 8th to vote in local elections. Many will have the opportunity to vote on public financing issues that have been described as "no tax increase bonds". Dr. James Shuls explains how these bonds work:
Have you heard of the proposed Metro fare increases? Metro may need to raise fares to cover its rising expenses. Joseph Miller talks about strategies to raise fares that Metro should consider. He also notes that Metro should reduce or eliminate routes that require high taxpayer subsidies.
Show-Me Institute Director of Local Government Policy David Stokes recently released a case study about privatization efforts in Missouri. The study documents the variety of ways in which counties, cities, and towns can engage the private sector to effectively provide many public services. Examples of areas that can experience cost savings and service improvements through privatization include trash pick-up, ambulance service, swimming pool and golf course management, animal control, fleet management, government pharmacy services, and much more.
Missouri's legislature has upheld a 5% increase in farmland productive value. That means that there will be a slight increase in property taxes on farmland next year. David Stokes advocates for this increase because of the disparity in property taxes across the state.
The Kansas City Aviation Department has proposed building a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport (MCI) that could cost $1.2 billion or more. While the city has attempted to collect information on the project independently, most of the data comes from the very people who support the project. In this discussion, the Show-Me Institute will share the results of its own research on the costs, challenges, and likely results of such an endeavor.
Patrick Tuohey explains that the cost of a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport would be passed along to passengers. Higher ticket prices would result and that could cause airlines and travelers to look for alternatives to KCI.
Michael Podgursky, Ph.D., responds to recent arguments to raise the minimum wage. While raising the minimum wage would help a few low-skill workers, it would also eliminate many low-skill jobs. Podgursky says there's a better way.
Michael Rathbone talks about the fairness of public financing for stadiums. Currently, $24 million in taxpayer money is spent annually for the original construction of the Edward Jones Dome. Saint Louis City taxpayers contribute $6 million of that. Saint Louis County taxpayers contribute another $6 million. And the state of Missouri contributes $12 million from the public coffers each year, but it doesn't make sense that Springfield and Joplin residents are paying for a stadium that they rarely use:
There are numerous ways that Missouri communities can benefit from privatization. David Stokes documented examples from across the state to help inform both decision makers and the public about the options available (read the case study). He also interviewed Ferguson Mayor James Knowles about that city's use of privatization:
Joseph Miller talks about transportation funding in the Show-Me State. A bill pending in Jefferson City, HJR 68, would put a 1% sales tax to the voters next November. Miller argues that drivers, not shoppers, should pay for roads and bridges.
James Shuls reports on School Choice Week. Earlier in the week Shuls spoke at an Americans for Prosperity (AFP) event in Jefferson City, Mo., where he said that School choice is not only a step towards liberty, but also moves us towards greater prosperity.
Show-Me Institute Director of Education Policy James V. Shuls, Ph.D., introduces his latest paper, "Available Seats? Survey Analysis of Missouri Private School Participation in Potential State Scholarship Programs." Shuls surveyed private school leaders in Kansas City and Saint Louis. His findings suggest that a private school scholarship program would expand choice while potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
What can you expect from the Missouri Legislature in the 2014 session? Columbia Tribune Columnist Bob Roper detailed the key issues that he thinks lawmakers will tackle. Additionally, Show-Me Institute Policy Analyst Patrick Ishmael outlined the latest on Medicaid expansion and Obamacare.