Taking The Missouri Budget Project Seriously
The St. Louis Post Dispatch recently published an article criticizing a bill that would create a 50 percent tax deduction for businesses whose earnings are taxed on the individual owners’ returns. The article quotes Amy Blouin, of the Missouri Budget Project. Blouin claims that enacting such a measure “would reduce state revenue by more than $500 million when fully implemented.” However, if you actually read the Missouri Budget Project’s (MBP) “analysis,” you won’t find how MBP actually came up with this number. I guess we just have to take their word for it.
This isn’t the only time the Missouri Budget Project has come up with revenue estimates out of whole cloth. In one of its write-ups about a Senate tax cut bill last year, the Missouri Budget Project stated that the bill would “slash Missouri’s general revenue budget by nearly $1 billion when fully implemented.” Page two of the report shows the year-by-year breakdown of estimated revenue losses, but you won’t see anything explaining how MBP came up with these numbers. There isn’t even an endnote.
Compare that to some of the analysis we do at the Show-Me Institute. When my colleague Policy Analyst Patrick Ishmael and I wrote “Passing Through Missouri: Left Behind On Taxes,” we included an entire section of the Appendix detailing our methodology and on what we based our estimates. The Missouri Budget Project’s tax analyses don’t contain anything like that. Yet when MBP officials are quoted in news articles, their numbers are accepted, seemingly without question.
The Missouri Budget Project is free to come up with any numbers it wants, but why aren’t those numbers backed up with explanations? As Wendy’s (and Walter Mondale) used to ask, “Where’s the beef?”