State Rep. Belinda Harris wrote an op-ed that appears In today's Southeast Missourian, challenging the merits of the Quality Jobs Act (H.B. 327). She argues that cherry-picking industries to receive tax credits does not help the economy at all, but puts unfavored businesses at a disadvantage. Also, allowing legislators to decide who receives benefits can politicize the process altogether:
When legislators pick and choose which businesses get tax credits or
subsidies, the process becomes politicized. They will be influenced by
personal interest and political contributors. Government should not be
the one to decide what businesses get subsidies and tax credits, thus
putting competing businesses at a disadvantage.
She argues correctly that market forces and a low-tax environment for all businesses should be the mechanism that gives people incentives to start businesses. We have stated at the Show-Me Institute that the Quality Jobs Act is a bad idea overall, even in its scaled-down form, and that the state should instead lower tax rates across the board, and reduce regulatory red tape that discourages job creation. Rep. Harris has the right idea, and hopefully she can spread her message to her fellow legislators during the special session.