“What Is the Smallest Town in the State?”
Last Friday, I travelled to the 108th Missouri State Fair in Sedalia, for my shift at the Show-Me Institute’s booth, fully prepared to engage in conversation with Missourians about how state and local governments create barriers to the free exchange of goods and services. I expected to field some tricky questions about whether the Show-Me Institute has partisan affiliations — we have none — or about pending, unaffiliated ballot initiatives, but I did not meet a single Missourian who wanted to know about either of these matters. Instead, I got tripped up by a seven-year-old’s query, “What is the smallest town in the state?”
Had the child asked which of Missouri’s 115 counties has the highest rate of tax abatement as a percentage of total real property assessed valuation, I could have provided an answer. Had he inquired about the intricacies of state supplemental tax increment financing, I would have jumped at the chance to describe its function and effects. I certainly would have had something to say about state spending for historic preservation or the myths of downtown “revitalization” in St. Louis. But I did not know the answer to the question, “What is the smallest town in the state?”
I promised my questioner that I would get back to him after consulting the Census, so, without further ado, here is the answer to the trickiest question from Sedalia:
Goss Town, population one, in Monroe County, population 9,311, is the smallest town in the state.
If you have a question for the Show-Me Institute, please feel free to stop by our booth in Sedalia for the remainder of the fair, or place a comment on the blog.