The State Constitutional Question: Are the Aerotropolis Tax Credits Even Legal?
It’s a question that now is cropping up among some who have looked closely at the Aerotropolis legislation. Ron Calzone was on Jamie Allman’s show (97.1 in St. Louis) yesterday and talked at length about the issue, citing specific sections of the Missouri Constitution in support of his position. Segment is below:
To Calzone, the context behind Missouri’s Constitutional language is of particular interest with the Aerotropolis bill, and he says the state’s concerns about the subsidization of railroads in the 1800s were a motivating factor behind how the text of the state’s Constitution was drafted. Calzone questions the constitutionality of the Aerotropolis tax credits because he says the legislature would be exceeding its authority in granting the credits. He notes explicitly these sections of the Constitution in support of his argument: Article I, Section 2; Article III, Section 36; Article III, Section 38(a); Article III, Section 39; and Article III, Section 40.
The state Constitutional argument seems to be gaining steam, too; Missouri Sen. Jim Lembke (R-Dist. 1) spoke on the floor of the Senate yesterday about the Constitutional problems with the state government picking winners and losers. (You can find the full text of the Missouri Constitution here.)
I’ll be checking out the case law and may follow this post up with an exploration of any court cases that may have dealt with these sections of the Constitution. In the meantime, I invite our readers to check out the Constitution themselves, using the links above, and leave your thoughts in the comments. Should be a very interesting conversation.