Will The Missouri House Ever Learn On Tax Credits?
Legislators can rename their new tax credit programs if they want, but it is utterly absurd to suggest that a “tax rebate” for data centers — as it has been portrayed and presented in the Missouri House of Representatives — or a tax credit for sports events is anything other than business as usual in the Capitol. State officials are picking yet another set of presumably hot new industries on which to bet their development roulette chips. Giving special tax breaks to special interests is the history of Missouri development policy over the last few decades. Every year or two, a new flight of special big ideas is enshrined in the law, with a new round of fresh special interests ensconced in the state’s pantheon of practically untouchable tax credits. The Missouri Department of Economic Development’s own tax credit documents outline the timeline of Missouri’s nearly imperishable tax credit growth with exquisite clarity. (Click the image to enlarge.)
Lobbyist detente on tax credits is not a sustainable status quo, and continuing to carry old tax credits forward while instituting new ones is a failure of leadership. That state officials would try to re-brand a failed system and grow the development tax credit leviathan beyond its current confines is hugely disappointing. It is just more of the same, and Missourians deserve better than that.