Having It Both Ways
In his State of the State address, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon offered profuse thanks to the General Assembly for passing a massive tax break for one company (Boeing) in their December 2013 special session. This is the same governor who spent much of last year railing against a broad-based income tax cut. The governor continues to argue that Missouri is one of the least-taxed states in the country. “Missouri is a low-tax state — sixth lowest in the nation — and we like it that way,” he said on Tuesday night. So Missouri is a low-tax state, but our taxes are too high for Boeing? Or are taxes too high for Boeing, but just fine for everybody else?
Missouri, in fact, is not a low-tax state, not in the taxes that matter most for a state’s economy.
The governor also laments that our taxpayers are forced to pay for health reform in other states through our federal taxes. He says that by expanding Medicaid, we could get some of that money back. This is a strange argument for a governor of Missouri to make considering that over a 20-year period, Missouri received more in federal spending than it paid in taxes. That means Michiganders and New Yorkers have been paying to improve our schools and our health care. Does the governor think they are entitled to a refund?
The truth is that there isn’t much evidence showing that Medicaid actually improves the health of poor people.
The legislature is in a new session and the state is facing serious challenges. But instead of spending more money (and the governor wants to spend a lot more), the state should focus on significant reform.