Ms. Harbin Goes to Washington
Today is my last day at the Show-Me Institute. Beginning next month, I will work at the Center for Fiscal Reform at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Washington, D.C. I am thrilled about my new role, but I will miss working at the Show-Me Institute.
Missouri public policy has its problems. Lawmakers have a terrible habit of trying to pick winners and losers in the market, even though they have such a bad track record of doing so. We’re relying on government to make the choices that individuals should be making for themselves in the private sector. Lawmakers are addicted to targeted tax credits and tax-increment financing (TIF) — even though these programs repeatedly fail to deliver on their promises.
Despite this state’s problems, Missourians have a lot to celebrate in public policy. Many great things are going on here. Missouri has fewer occupational license requirements than other states, which means that Missourians are more free to earn a living. Plus, Missouri has low state taxes on booze, cigarettes, and gasoline. It also has the Hancock Amendment, which limits state spending and requires that voters have the final say on tax hikes. (Wouldn’t it be great if the Hancock Amendment existed at the federal level?)
We’re taking many steps in the right direction toward limiting government and protecting individual liberty. For example, Missourians were among the first to oppose the federal takeover of their health care, and we haven’t given up. As another thing I find promising, the Saint Louis Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) is accepting more offers to buy vacant property (thanks largely to the efforts of my colleague Audrey Spalding).
I’m confident that Missouri, and other midwestern states, will be leaders in limiting government and getting the economy back on track. This change will be driven by individuals acting entrepreneurially in the private sector, however — not by the hand of government.
See you later, Show-Me State.