Mixed Message About Tax Credits
Forbes recently published an article that praises Gov. Jay Nixon, and describes him as “cutter-in-chief”:
Nixon proposed to “right-size” government by merging agencies, eliminating state holidays, laying off more employees, getting rid of state vehicles, scaling back employee pension and health benefits, privatizing child support collections and curtailing Missouri’s expansive tax credit programs.
He may talk the talk, but he doesn’t consistently walk the walk — he has continued to support giving tax credits to specific businesses. Here, I reference the $28 million in state incentives that the Missouri government is giving to IBM to locate in Columbia, Mo., or the proposed $15 million in tax credits to support the Ford plant in Claycomo, Mo.
Even though the incentive package for Ford’s Claycomo plant didn’t pass the state legislature, the governor strongly supported the proposal. According to the Kansas City Star:
The bills’ failure was a disappointment to Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon, who had pushed hard for both the jobs bill and retirement reform, and worked through the day Thursday and Friday to make a deal on their passage.
“Unfortunately, the General Assembly missed a critical opportunity by failing to pass this package,” Nixon said.
The recession has provided a new opportunity to evaluate the appropriateness and the effectiveness of specific government programs. I do give credit to the governor for communicating his commitment to reduce state expenditures. However, I wish that he would advance a consistent message regarding tax credits.